INGLESIDE, Texas — Every Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the Coastal Bend is part of the 6th district of Texas.
That district recently got together to pick new leadership, and made history in the process.
Ann Marie Torres is literally a woman of many hats. In addition to her family roles of mother, wife, and grandmother, Torres is also a Kingsville City Commissioner, a Peer Leader with the Women’s Veterans Network, commander of VFW Post 2375 in Kingsville, and now Commander of Texas District 6.
“It’s an important position for all our veterans, especially in our Coastal Bend community,” Torres said.
District 6 covers the entire Coastal Bend, and Torres is the first woman elected district commander. She said never saw herself in this position, and wouldn’t have considered it if not for the encouragement of her male counterparts.
“They envisioned something that I hadn’t,” Torres said. “Once I saw that vision, for all women veterans it’s extremely important that we come out and we start voicing our leadership.”
A veteran of the U.S. Army and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Torres is no stranger to leadership roles. She spent the last year as the district’s senior vice commander.
Her new mission will be to help grow the VFW's ranks regardless of whether the veteran’s gender.
“I have a saying: 'not every GI is a Joe,' ” Torres said. “That’s extremely important that we all come together, and we start maintaining that.”
Her hope is that when the next woman is elected District 6 commander, it won't be nearly as big a deal.
“Things change and they are changing,” she said. “I’m hoping I won’t have to be a trailblazer anymore.”
Torres isn't the nation’s first female commander, or even the state's: the two women elected district commander ahead of her are both from Texas.
Contact Veterans In Focus reporters: Greg Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org and Pat Simon at email@example.com