Top Gun pilot inspires De Anza Daughters

Former “Top Gun” pilot, retired Navy Commander Faye Bell inspired members of the De Anza Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at their monthly luncheon meeting held Oct. 6 at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club.

Commander Bell chronicled her experiences breaking the glass ceiling as a Navy pilot who became the first woman certified to land on an aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific Fleet.

Despite obstacles related to her gender, she went on to distinguished service by providing air cover for Navy Seals in Grenada, Central America and the first Gulf War.

“Anything you dare me to do or tell me I can’t do,” she said, “well, that’s fuel.”

After retirement from the Navy, the same attitude motivated Bell to found and serve as executive director for Military Outreach Ministry (MOM4USA), a non-profit organization that serves young military families. The unique structure of these families requires they depend on others around them when faced with the financial and emotional challenges brought on by a parent deployed to war. When they need extra help, they often turn to Bell and MOM4USA.

“We know they make a special sacrifice. There are missed birthdays, anniversaries, births. Some are severely wounded. We do this to say thank you.”

Bell said MOM4USA served 54,000 families last year, many of these living at Camp Pendleton, by providing baby care packages, clothing for children, food, furniture and special items. For more information about MOM4USA and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.mom4usa.org.

In the spirit of making meetings more “fun” for attendees, De Anza board members donned witch hats, with Regent Laurel Lemarie wearing the mother of all hats in honor of the magical month of October.

The De Anza Daughters presented a certificate of appreciation to Historian Martha Gresham for her distinguished service to the D.A.R. organization, at both local and state levels. A woman 18 years or older descended from an American Revolution patriot is eligible for membership in the De Anza Daughters. De Anza has an active lineage committee that helps prospective members with their applications.

For more information, call Laurel Lemarie, 858-756-2835 or visit www.deanzadar.org.

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