July 2011

Welcome to Friday…“Fashion & Finds”

Deal of the day What better time to think about our “To Do” list than on a Friday, with two whole days ahead of us to get things done around the house, update our wardrobe, browse the book store, or test drive that new car you’ve been lusting after.

It’s with that agenda in mind that Perspectives is kicking off a new Friday feature…“Fashion & Finds”. Whether it’s a great sale on shoes, a new cleaning product that removed all the cat hair from my house, or a fabulous restaurant with great service, you’ll read about here each Friday.

And don’t forget to send along tips about your favorite things. Just click “Contact” at the top of the blog.

Kicking off this week with my two favorite online sale shopping sites, "Gilt" and "HauteLook" where you’ll “find” the latest “fashion” at greatly reduced prices. Both sites work on the same principle: You sign up online (it’s free) after which you’ll receive their featured items each day at the same time. HauteLook goes live at 11:00 a.m. and Gilt at 12:00 noon, plus there are often special events during evenings and weekends. Heads up on timing…if it’s a hot item, it’s gone within minutes.

Many of the items featured are clothing for women, men & children, along with a selection of home furnishings and gourmet food. Both sites also offer special packages on travel to the most amazing places. A discount safari to Africa anyone?

Some of the merchandise is very high-end. Don’t let that put you off: There are lots of true bargains to be found if you look. I just bought my first real designer purse for a fraction and I mean a small fraction of what I would have paid for it in a department store. And even if you don’t buy anything, it’s so much fun to browse. There’s nothing better than fantasizing about how you’d look in that cocktail dress while sipping coffee in your PJ’s. Enjoy.

Woman Warrior Wednesday: LT COL Teri DelBalso

DELBALSO Teri Delbalso was just like any other little girl growing up in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. A childhood she describes as “very nice” included playing Barbie Dolls with her kid sister Nikki. Throughout her years at Hazelton High School and Penn State, where she graduated with a BS in Administration of Justice, Teri dreamed about her “perfect job”, but the dream was elusive. She thought about joining the military: Several dead-end jobs later, she took the plunge and joined the Army Reserves. Her training kept her away from home for nearly a year, first at Ft. Jackson, NC for basic training, then Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA, followed by a basic course for Quarter Masters at Ft. Lee, VA.

After five years posted at the Army Reserve Center in Williamsport, PA, that dream job started to come in to sharper focus. She applied for and was accepted to an advance course to become a Military Police Officer. “It was something I always wanted to do”, she says, “I just had to work my way up to it”. Upon successful completion of her training, Teri was transferred to the Military Police Unit in Ashton, PA, where she’s been serving, and moving up through the ranks, for 16 years. Today, Teri holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and is Commander of the 424 Military Police Detachment.

Those years of service have included two tours of duty in Iraq, in 2003-04 & 2008-09. Teri describes the first deployment as being “on the cusp of the invasion” and the conditions as “a harsh environment”. It was also extremely dangerous. Driving back to the base, after dark, through Baghdad, their convoy came under fire by RPG’s. “The guys firing at us were bad shots”, so between their return fire and defensive driving moves, Teri and her team stayed safe. Many others did not. “Our base was bombed every night; I mean every night there were incoming mortar rounds. People died around me.”

The second deployment was calmer; there was more security, better living conditions, and superior radar that detected anyone approaching the base.

Teri’s training and experience in the military led her toward that dream civilian job she’d thought about years before. For 7 years she held the distinction of being the first woman police officer in the history of McAdoo, Pennsylvania. In 1994, she joined the PA Department of Corrections, working out of the Hemlock Creek Medium Security Prison, where she is the State Prison Department Superintendent in charge of programming and treatment.

With four years to go till her goal of retiring from the military with 25 years of service, Teri says, “It’s been a great ride. I’ve been all over the world, all over the US; I’ve seen places I would have never otherwise seen”

She encourages other women to think about a military career. “Don’t run away from it. You can discover yourself, finding talents and strengths you didn’t know you had. The Army is what you make it…if you can carry your own weight and be a team player, it can be a good life”.

Welcome to Perspectives’ New Feature… Women Warrior Wednesdays

Female Soldiers Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, July 27, Perspectives will begin a new feature focusing on the many women serving in the US military. Each week we’ll highlight a woman, from different branches of our Armed Services, who is proudly serving our country in these difficult times.

Since the terrorist attacks of 9-11, women have answered the call and proved time and again that, as our first featured Woman Warrior, LT COL Teri DelBalso, says, “Women have shown they can go above and beyond what is expected of them, shouldering many of the same burdens as their male counterparts. We’ve earned the respect we’re now being given by rising to every opportunity and proving we can do the job”.

I hope you will enjoy these weekly “profiles in courage”, and will share them with your friends and family. One of the best ways to thank those who help to keep us safe, is to let them know we appreciate their sacrifice.

If you know of a woman warrior who you think should be featured in a Woman Warrior Wednesday story, please post a comment or email me directly through the blog.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading.

Pamela Varkony

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