"As today's women and girls reach for new heights, they stand on the shoulders of all those who have come before and carry forward their legacy of proud achievement," said President Obama in his Women's History Month Proclamation this month. There is no stronger legacy than the one created by Donna de Varona, our "VetFamily" honoree, Veterans Advantage Advisory Board member, and spouse of Army Vet John Pinto.
At 13 years old, Donna was the youngest participant in the 1960 Olympic Games. Four years later, she broke an unprecedented 18 world swimming records and won two Gold Medals at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. In the mid-60's, Donna went on to break the gender barrier in sports broadcasting and change the landscape of women's sports forever through her tireless efforts to pass Title IX of the Equal Education Amendments Act of 1972. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions receiving Federal funding. It has helped millions of women obtain sports scholarships and pursue their athletic dreams.
Donna is the daughter of a combat medic who served with the Red Cross in WWII. During the Vietnam War, she toured with the USO, lifting the morale of thousands of my fellow soldiers.
As a Veterans Advantage board member who has supported us in countless ways over the last 15 years, she truly embodies the spirit of service. Thank you Donna, and congratulations!