COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Since March of 1987, the contributions of American women have been celebrated during Women’s History Month.
Women and their contributions to society date back further than1987, but that’s the year Congress decided to dedicate a month to American females who helped shape this country. There are “a few good women” right here in Columbus who are paving the way for the next generation.
In 1991, Carole Summerall opened the door to fire and rescue, when she became the first woman to join the Columbus Fire Department.
“Being the only female there at the time, often times I would be picked first. I always knew I was going to be picked 1st just to make sure that I could do something. Women do things differently than men. We even hold our hose differently than men. So I just had to figure out what worked for me. It might not work for them and it might not look pretty but it got the job done,” says Summerall.
Teresa O’leary began her career in construction 5 years ago because she loves being outdoors and wanted to be in a competitive field. O’leary says the work is challenging but rewarding.
“This work is long hours. You have to have sacrifice. You have to be ready to work long days & long hours and be away from your family some but it’s worth it,” says O’leary.
Terrie Songer joined the Columbus Police Department in 1996 and was the first sworn female officer to be promoted to Corporal just last year. Despite being small in stature, Songer believes she’s had a big impact on her community.
“When I first got here, I was a little worried, that being a smaller female, they wouldn’t take us as serious. But you know, over the years when you’ve been out there and you get to know people, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. You just go out and do what you need to do,” says Songer.
Tabertha Hardin was recently promoted as an Investigator in the same department and says women should not be afraid to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“A lot of women are scared to get into this field but they shouldn’t be because they can help out in all kinds of ways. If it’s just helping the kids in the community. You got a lot of kids that need to be talked to and sometimes they look up to a woman before they look up to a man,” says Hardin.
They are the women of North Mississippi, who have served their communities and proven that when women believe, they can achieve in whatever field they choose.
Women’s History Month is also celebrated in Australia and the United Kingdom during the month of March.