BELLFLOWER – Bellflower resident Dr. Gloria Willingham has been named the 2014 “Veteran of the Year” by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. Willingham is a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Reserves and worked as a nurse for more than 20 years in roles ranging from nurses aid to staff nurse.
She retired as chief of nursing education and research at the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Long Beach.
She then moved into collegiate education, having served many years in adjunct faculty roles and on the advisory boards of numerous nursing programs.
Willingham organized the first group of African-American nurses in Long Beach to form the Psi Eta chapter of Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority Inc. While on the faculty at Cal State Long Beach, she was one of only a handful of African-American nurses.
“She knows firsthand the disparities and difficulties that persons from such backgrounds face, often unspoken and unshared,” Garcia said. “She encourages us all to ‘tell our story’ to help others to regain their strength and the strength of the community.”
Published: July 10, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 13