KINGSVILLE, Texas — Texas is one of 11 states which specifically honors female veterans on Women Veterans Day.
Women Veterans Day was first observed in New York State on June 12, 2008. This year, Texas will observe the day for the fifth time, having first recognized the holiday in 2017.
There’s a woman veteran who's making a difference in Kleberg County.
Ann Marie Torres isn't like most veterans. She didn't join the U.S. Army until well into her 30's. While he's not in uniform anymore, this Kingsville native is still serving; only now it's as a city commissioner.
“I think when you're in the military you never really stop serving,” Torres said.
That's why in 2018 when Torres came home, she ran for office. She lost her first election, but last fall, Torres was elected a Kingsville City Commissioner.
“There's that something within you that wants to continue to serve, especially our citizens,” said Torres. “Whether it be local, state, or national level.”
If Torres had her way, she'd still be in the military. Born into a Navy family, Torres joined the army in 2008. She did it for her family.
“I was a single mother at the time with four kids and it was hard,” said Torres. “My oldest was 19 at the time, she took care of her sister and her brothers.”
It got harder. In 2009, she was offered the choice to go to Iraq out of training. Torres decided she'd go and spend another year away from her family. Her unit was set to deploy out of Ft. Hood.
“We were at Ft. Hood Nov. 5, 2009,” Torres said.
That was the day Maj. Nidal Hussein killed 13 soldiers at the base's Readiness Processing Center. Torres says she had walked out of the building shortly before Hussein opened fire.
She only served the one tour in Iraq. She served another eight years until a knee injury medically retired her in 2018.
Torres' transition from soldier to public servant isn't unique, but it is an inspiration to other women. Something important on Women Veterans Day and every day.
“Our women have served and they've served since the Revolutionary War,” said Torres. “It's more about awareness, making sure everybody comes to understand that women have served, and will continue to serve.”
In honor of Women Veterans Day, a ceremony will be held at Corpus Christi’s Sherrill Park at 10am. Commissioner Torres will be the featured speaker.