10 Amazing Women, 10 Amazing Role Models
Candice Caesar, U.S. Army, 1994-2000
Candice Caesar joined the US army as a personnel actions specialist, excited to serve her country. A vehicle accident left her traumatized, paralyzed, and medically retired. She vowed to run again one day, and throughout her transition and recovery, she leaned on physical training to keep her going. Today, she has completed 25 marathons in different states around the country, aiming for 50 out of 50. “Service and sacrifice have been hallmarks in my life. I am blessed to be able to inspire and motivate others through my determination to succeed.”
Mila Dimal, US Navy (1991-1998) and Navy Reserves (2003-2015), Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
Mila Dimal served as an aviation mechanic in the US Navy and Navy Reserves, retiring after 20 years of service. Her passion is being the best mother, friend, and employee possible, and she credits sports and physical activities with helping her meet her goals and setting a great example for her children. “Sports and physical activities are essential to my well-being. They help keep me engaged and connected with like-minded folks and provide great stress relief and health benefits.”
Ivanna Brown, US Air Force, 1987-1993
Ivanna Brown served in the US Air Force as an Engineering Assistant, until an accident ended her military career, leaving her paraplegic. At the suggestion of a friend, she participated in a winter sports clinic and found it to be a life-changing experience. She has participated in rowing, sailing, tennis, kayaking, and skiing events and continues to try new sports. “Even though I never considered myself an athlete, sports changed my life! I am convinced that these events keep me feeling healthy and happy and can’t wait to try more.”
Ardrena Bailey, US Army, 1976-1979
Ardrena Bailey joined the US Army as a military police officer. After leaving the service, she was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis, leaving her wheelchair-bound. Not one to wallow, she immersed herself in all forms of sports, earning numerous gold medals in table tennis, shotput, discus, javelin, rowing over the last 20 years. She credits sports with giving her moral and mental stability – keeping her busy and moving forward. “Being involved in sports made my life – even though I don’t have lower body function, being athletic has kept up my morale and mental health, kept me busy and going.”
Cami Gage, US Air Force, 1998-2005
Cami Gage joined the US Air Force as a personnel actions specialist, serving for seven years on active duty. Continuing to build on her passion for sports from childhood, Cami completed a Triathlon, mastered rock and ice climbing, back country skiing and snowboarding, and trail running. She credits the strong foundation her athletic groups have given her with smoothing the transition from military to civilian life. “Sport, in its calm moments, in its adventurous moments, in the hard work required, in both triumph and struggle—in all of these things, has been a conduit for well-being, growth, and confidence.“
Judi Roberts, US Air National Guard, 1981-2007, Operations Iraqi Freedom, Joint Forge, and Coronet Oak
Judi Roberts signed up for the US Air National Guard as a crew chief and aircraft technician, serving for 26 years. Building on the physical requirements of her military job, she added bicycling and volleyball to create a sense of regularity outside the fast-paced flight schedules. Injuries to her shoulder and knee did not slow her activity– she holds a gold medal in discus from the Golden Age games.
“Through sports, I have pushed myself to, and beyond, the circles edge, creating confidence, strengthening relationships, and learning life lessons.”
Bernardine Donato, US Navy and Air National Guard, 1974-1998, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
Bernardine Donato spent ten years as a US Navy nurse, and then served in the US Air National Guard as a tactical flight nurse. She served in both Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, retiring after 24 years as a LtCol. Throughout her career, and now retirement, Bernie has used strength training, skydiving, and running to continue to keep her body well-conditioned. “Sports are essential in my life – doesn’t matter if you are the fastest or the greatest, just getting off the couch and participating counts, and helps keep my mind and body healthy.”
Sarah Holzhalb, US Coast Guard, 2002-2007
Sarah Holzhalb entered the US Coast Guard Commissioned Corps as a deck watch officer in 2002, serving for 5 years. While grieving the suicides of two shipmates, she decided to train for her first marathon. The long training hours proved therapeutic, and her running club provided a new tribe to replace the shipmates she’d left behind. “Every run, every race, is therapy for my body and mind. I’ve found a family in Team Red, White, and Blue, forming authentic relationships through physical, social, and volunteer service.”
Indira Glennon, US Army 2002-2007, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Indira Glennon served in the US Army as a chemical reconnaissance specialist. Once leaving the service and starting her family, she decided to become a triathlete, showing up to every race with a smile on her face. Constant training has been key to managing her struggles with PTSD, depression, and anxiety, and staying connected to her running and volunteer community. “Although the training can be difficult, the challenge is always welcome. I can leave my troubles on the course.”
Angela Madsen, US Marine Corps, 1979-1981
Angela Madsen served in the US Marine Corps as a military police officer, and a member of the Women’s All Marine Corps basketball team, medically retiring after she was injured in the line of duty.
Angela didn’t let a wheelchair stop her from breaking records in sports: a three-time Paralympian, she also holds multiple Guinness World Records for rowing across oceans without a support boat.
“You can compare ocean rowing to life: you get blown off course, but remaining adrift is a choice – always better to chart a new course and carry on.”