Work

“Work” is a value-laden term that has changed drastically over time, particularly in relation to women’s daily lives. Despite a legacy of opinions to the contrary, WWHP views women’s work as inherently valuable, whether taking place in the formal structure of paid employment or the private realm of home and family. We seek to understand each woman’s work on her own terms in her own words.

Bonita Keefe-Layden

Veteran, Ret Colonel, U.S. Army Reserves; CEO Rehabilitative Resources, Inc.

It was in 2003 when we started the war, when [President George W.]  Bush declared war [on Iraq] near St. Patrick’s Day, I think around the 19th [of March], and we were in country on the 23rd.  We had been at Fort Drum a couple of months.  I was with the 804th Medical Center which is the command and control of all medical units and we were in Kuwait.  The 804th Hospital Command.  They changed the name since I first started.  So my unit in country was in charge of all the medical aspects to the equipment, the professional staff, doctors, nurses, and the cleaning operations.  When I was deployed I was asked to be the medical regulating officer.  The regulating officer’s job is to coordinate all evacuation so I had myself and about seven other people [laughs] and some of those people were 19 and 20 years old and myself, and a major, and my enlisted group.  We coordinated all the ground ambulances in the area and the connection with the Air Force to evacuate and it was very stimulating and it was very rewarding.  It was tough because we were dealing with casualties.  We were dealing with all the amputations and we were dealing with at that time—I’m digressing a bit from your question, but at that time, the military was just implementing what they called “the golden hour” where it was believed that if you could get someone with severe trauma from the place of injury to level three care within an hour that you had a better chance of saving the life.  That was our mission and we did it.  We did it.  The only time we couldn’t is when people couldn’t tell us where they were.  [Laughs]  You might find that pretty amazing, but a lot of times people couldn’t tell us where they were even if they were on a road.  They didn’t have—GPS is pretty common now, but GPS was just beginning to come into use in 2003 so maybe one person in the convoy would have GPS and convoys get separated and spread out.  And these were young kids, 18, 19 years old.  We wanted to get to them obviously as fast as we could.   If you couldn’t give us a grid coordinate at least tell us what road you are on and the nearest town and the helicopter could follow that.  Convoys are pretty big so they could find a convoy.  We really implemented the golden hour rule and, of course, part of our job is letting the hospitals know they are coming and having the ambulances at the landing site to get them into the hospitals.  The golden hour included the telephone call, the launching of the helicopter, contacting the hospital, the ambulance to the landing field, and getting them to the emergency room.

Bonnie Keefe-Layden describes her experiences the Army Reserves and as a CEO of the Sturbridge-based Rehabilitative Resources Inc. She attained the rank of Colonel during her 33-year military career and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 where she was the medical regulating officer of the 804th Hospital Command.  While describing the responsibilities of the unit, she recalls the tragedies that she observed as well as proud moments striving to achieve transportation of injured personnel within “the golden hour” and first-time efforts evacuating injured to a ship, the U.S.N.S. Comfort.

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Thu, 06/08/2017
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Janet Hale

Nurse;Dean, UMass Medical School; Veteran, US Army Reserves, Ret.Colonel

It started out we were within two miles of an enemy prisoner of war camp that had 14,000 soldiers that had surrendered and then during the Shite uprising in Southern Iraq we started to get families and kids from Shatrah and Basrah that the infantry would bring down in the Chinook helicopters and what happened was the Republican Guard went in and were taking over the hospitals and the schools and the buildings and they were throwing out these patients.  So the infantry would bring them down and we took care of them.  We were pretty busy.  But it was good.  We lived in a tent.  It was pretty—you know, sometimes the tents would blow down, it would rain.  We were in a desert, but it would pour.  There was mud, there was grit everywhere.  But you just developed such a good relationship with the other 15 women in the tent.  Everybody eats together.  Even when the physicians weren’t on call, if there was a mass casualty they just put it out over the PA system and everybody would come and help.  It was really a cool bonding experience.  I remember when I went into a field hospital my mother said to me, “Jan, I can’t believe you’re going into a field hospital.  Remember you never even went to Girl Scout camp because you hated bugs and dirt and dust.”  [laughs]  You grow and change when you need the maturity.  So I look at it as a highlight of my life.  A really good experience.

Janet Hale discusses her experiences as a nurse in the United States Army Reserves.  She joined the Reserves in 1967 during the Vietnam War era and before retiring with the rank of Colonel she was deployed for the first Gulf War and mobilized for the second Gulf War. In addition to her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Janet went on to earn a master’s degree in management and a master’s degree in nursing as well as a Ph.D.

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Mon, 06/12/2017
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Phyllis Gallant

Nurse, Veteran, Navy WAVE, Carried flag for American Legion post 75 years

I went in the WAVES in 1944, and I spent my whole time in the hospital at Norfolk, Virginia, the Naval Hospital there where the ships come in there—the port. It was very—at times it was kind of hard to take, but you see these people coming in to be taken care of from other parts of the country and it’s heartbreaking a little bit but you kind of manage to get through it anyway.  [The wounded] came from combat from different places.  That’s where the ships came in; the hospital ships came in there.  I mean, we enjoyed some of the time that we were off.  But it was a little bit—seeing, doing the job we had to do, it was a little bit difficult seeing all the things that happened to them.  They’d come in from different areas and they’d be off the battlefield, and they’d come in with casts that were messy looking; they had to be changed, and all that, but I was able to take that OK. 

Phyllis Gallant was 95 when she was interviewed. After growing up in Holden and Worcester she went to nursing school at Holden hospital She and her sisters danced professionally in the area during her youth. She shares her memories of being a Navy WAVE during World War II and describes her work at the Norfolk Naval Hospital, the living arrangements, and recreation during her two-year involvement.  When she returned home she married and had four children. She is an active participant in the American Legion, carrying the flag for her post for 75 years, and still bowls in a league.

Interview Date: 
Sat, 11/19/2016
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Christina O'Hara

U.S. Army Major; Veteran; M.D. at Walter Reed Military Medical Center

So initially I went over [to Iraq], I couldn’t believe I got picked to do it, but myself and an infantry guy, they’re the guys who do the damage, like knock down doors and stuff.  So he and I went over as ADVON [ADVanced EchelON-advance party] way before the rest of the Stryker brigade and then we came back with intelligence on how they use their Strykers [armored combat vehicles], how best to use trajectory with mortars, what the other guys did—Al Qaeda at the time—their strategies, their TTPs—tactics, techniques, and procedures—how to defeat them.  So between the infantry guy and myself, which I operated more in a—we both went out into raids and stuff, but it was good to have both sides of it.  So he played the blue force which blue force means friendly, and I was red force so I was the enemy.  And so, I was looking at the enemy and he was looking at us and we would talk and it was pretty neat.  And so I brought that back to now Major General Shields.  He was our command at the time, Colonel Shields.  And we figured out how best to deploy all our assets because it’s billions of dollars in assets that we were bringing over and then, once you got there, how to up-armor them, what kind of armor to put on.  And so I thought that was very interesting.  I don’t think I’ve ever talked about that to anyone because it just slips my mind because after that I was over there for almost two years straight because of the surge.  We got stuck there.

Christina O’Hara was born in 1980 and grew up in Shrewsbury, MA.  She attended Notre Dame Academy, West Point, and East Tennessee State University Medical School.  She describes her experiences at West Point followed by intelligence training and deployments in Iraq.  Currently she is a medical doctor specializing in occupational medicine at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.  Christina’s father and two brothers also served in the military and she explains her familiarity with military culture from a young age.  Often she was the only woman on missions in Iraq and

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Thu, 07/21/2016
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Diane Giampa

Sr VP Human Resources & Marketing, Bay State Savings Bank; Chair, Girls Inc

Don’t be defined by your gender, and don’t think about what you can’t do, ask for what you want to do. Because you’ll be surprised, I think, at times, to find that if you just ask, you’ll get what you want. Just be yourself and ask for what you need and make sure that you get paid what you’re worth.

Diane Giampa was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, MA in 1963. She was raised in Millbury, Massachusetts, where she still resides today. Diane received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MBA from Anna Maria College. Diane and her husband have two sons, Cody and Jordan. After staying home for a year, Diane decided to return to work. She is now the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Marketing at Bay State Savings Bank. In this interview, Diane discusses her love and dedication to volunteer work.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/11/2017
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Julianne Dahrooge

Partner, Chan-Dahrooge Financial Group;Volunteer, Broken Tail Rescue

I think it’s an amazing time right now because I think that the playing field has really never been more level than it is right now.  I think there is just amazing opportunities that I don’t think were necessarily there 30, 40, 50 years ago for women to be just as successful as men traditionally have been in business. I think you are going to see more and more female COO’s, more and more female CFO’s, and more and more female CEO’s of companies, more and more women on the board of directors.  I think it’s a really exciting time.

Julianne Dahrooge was born in 1979. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York, with her two parents and brother. After graduating college, she moved to Worcester to pursue a career at Assumption College as a Residential Director. She now lives in Worcester with her husband. Together they spend their free time fostering special needs animals, especially dogs. Throughout the interview, Julianne focuses on her relationships with members of her family and career history. She is an optimist with a gentle heart who cares deeply about people, animals and the world.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 09/29/2017
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Amy Ebbeson

College Professor;Social Worker

I know women in Worcester who have achieved amazing things. So, I have always felt like things are possible here in Worcester.”

Amy Beth Ebbeson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1969 and grew up in the nearby town of Holden. She attended the Wachusett School District from elementary school through high school graduation in 1987. Amy received her Bachelor's  Degree in Psychology at Roger Williams University in and earned her Master's Degree in Social Work at Boston University. Amy currently lives in Rutland, Massachusetts, right outside of Worcester with her husband and 12 year -old son.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 09/22/2017
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Pamela Bobay

President, Worcester Women's History Project; Quinsigamond Valley Community Center

Be yourself and explore.  Be open to opportunities knocking on your door or drifting into an area to see if you might find it interesting.  Enjoy.  Enjoy the adventure because it is an adventure.

Pamela Joy Greene was born in San Diego, California, on April 23, 1944.  Her married name is Pamela Bobay.  Pamela is the president of the Steering Committee of the Worcester Women’s History Project.  Some of her notable areas of work are at a food pantry for the Quinsigamond Valley Community Center and on the board for the Oak Hill Community Development Corporation.  These areas of work showcase her core values of generosity and innovation.  In this interview, Pamela expresses a great passion for travel including her time in California, Nevada, and Washington all o

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/04/2017
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Stacy Lord

Art Teacher; stART on the Street Volunteer; Owner of the largest LEGO collection

It kind of saved my life in a way. I had a learning disability growing up and I didn't speak until I was in first or second grade and school was very difficult.  My parents have always been wonderful and just encouraged me in whatever I did.  So I would draw and draw and draw and they’d buy me whatever paper, pens, paint to draw.  They took me to the Worcester Art Museum as a kid to take classes there even though they didn’t have a lot of money. And full circle is when I got into high school I ended up teaching there.  So here I am eight years old taking classes and seeing my artwork up on the wall and then high school I get accepted to teach at the Worcester Art Museum. So I see the benefits of the arts and I grew up in music as well and how it can change someone’s perspective from being, “Ugh, I can’t do this, I’m a failure,” to “Oh, guess what, you can attempt and you can do things.” As long as you can find that niche of something to keep you going, that passion, that drive, that place where you can fall back on when things get tough.

Stacy Lord was born in Holden, Massachusetts in 1969, grew up in Princeton and moved to Worcester in 1996. She attended Wachusett High School and Anna Maria College where she discovered her love for the arts. Stacy is a loving partner as well as mother to two boys. Throughout her life, Stacy had many jobs involving the arts and now is a devoted middle school art teacher in Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 09/29/2017
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Julie Holstrom

Senior Project Manager, Worcester Business Development Corporation

My work has been very rewarding in this job in that I’ve been able to see change happen in a community that I love and be a part of that change which is really exciting for me. I was just talking with a group of students a couple of weeks ago and they asked why I liked my job and I said because I love being able to be a part of something that you can see. And I always say that I don’t know that I would be able to do my job as it is today in Boston. Because I have lived in Boston, but I do not have that type of connection to Boston. I grew up here and being able to improve an area where you grew up, that’s something special. That is one of the highlights of my job.

Julie Anne Holstrom was born on August 4th, 1981. An only child, she grew up in Auburn, Massachusetts with caring, loving, supportive parents. Julie often visited Worcester as a child and holds fond memories of the city close to her heart. Julie went to the Auburn Public Schools, got her undergraduate degree in political science from Providence College, and after graduating earned her master's degree from Clark University in public administration. Today, Julie is a senior project manager for the Worcester Business Development Corporation.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/05/2017
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