ABOUT THE OVERSEAS SERVICE LEAGUE FLAGSTAFF AND WOMEN VETERANS MEMORIAL GROVE
IN CENTRAL PARK
In 1925, a memorial grove of 24 trees and a flagstaff was conceptualized in Central Park. This grove was a tribute to American women, including nurses with the American Red Cross, who died overseas during World War I. Today, the living memorial of thriving trees recognizes women who served our nation in countless ways, spanning the wall along Fifth Avenue from East 69th Street to East 71st Street.
ABOUT THE HONOREES
Anne Williams-Isom — Anne Williams-Isom was appointed Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services in December 2021 by then Mayor-elect Eric Adams and assumed office on January 1, 2022. Agencies and Mayor’s Offices reporting to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services include: NYC Health + Hospitals, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Social Services (Human Resources Administration and Department of Homeless Services), Administration for Children’s Services, Department for the Aging, Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, Department of Veterans’ Services, and Office of Community Mental Health. Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom has more than twenty-seven years of leadership and management experience in large, complex organizations, where she has served children, families, and underserved communities. Prior to her appointment as Deputy Mayor, she served as the James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service and as the Chief Executive Officer for the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). Before leading HCZ, she served for thirteen years at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, where she held leadership roles including Deputy Commissioner for Community and Government Affairs.
Christina Farrell — Ms. Farrell serves as the First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department. Ms. Farrell began working for the City of New York in 1994 as a Criminal Justice Coordinator, also serving as the deputy director of the NYC High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the deputy director and director of the Mayor's Office of Grants Administration. She worked on the creation of the Twin Towers Fund after 9/11. Ms. Farrell joined NYC Emergency Management in 2003 as the agency's first director of grants, created the agency's external affairs division, first serving as the assistant commissioner of the division and then the deputy commissioner. She has responded to many major New York City disasters over the past 20 years, including the citywide blackout of 2003, Hurricane Sandy, severe heat, snowstorms, power outages, steam pipe and building explosions, and coastal storms.
Kathy Roth-Douquet — Ms. Roth-Douquet is co-founder and CEO of the military family organization Blue Star Families. In three years, Blue Star Families has grown to over 24 chapters, with over 30,000 members, and programming has reached half a million military families. She is an award-winning author, attorney, military family advocate, commentator, and a former Clinton White House and Pentagon appointee. She is a senior Fellow for the Truman National Security Project, and a Fellow with the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces in Society. While serving at the Pentagon as Principal Assistant Deputy under Secretary of Defense (Acting) she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her work on defense reform. Ms. Roth-Douquet serves on the advisory board of the wounded warrior charity, Hope for the Warriors and the veterans charity Beyond Tribute. Her husband is an active-duty Marine officer has served three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tania Kinsella — Ms. Kinsella began her career with the NYPD as a police officer in 2003, promoted to sergeant in 2008, lieutenant in 2013, and captain in 2016. She was designated as the commanding officer of Housing Police Service Area 1 in 2018 and was promoted to deputy inspector in 2019. In 2020, Ms. Kinsella was designated as the commanding officer of the 120th Precinct. She was promoted to inspector in 2021. In 2022, Ms. Kinsella was assigned as the executive officer of the Office of the Chief of Patrol, where she was subsequently promoted to deputy chief. There, she focused on the deployment of the Patrol Services Bureau's approximately 13,000 members, monitoring crime, crime statistics, crime trends, and domestic violence crimes. She was designated First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Police Department on July 17, 2023.
Mercedes Elias — Ms. Elias is the first and currently the only woman veteran to serve as CEO of a service disabled, veteran-owned broker-dealer on Wall Street, AmeriVet Securities. After graduating from St. Mary’s University, Ms. Elias attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps that same year. Her commissioning class started with 49 women and only 17 women graduated, highlighting how difficult it is for women to become officers in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2020, she was appointed by the Mayor of New York City to sit on the city’s Veterans Advisory Board.
Alison Bergman — Ms. Bergman is an active volunteer with the Metro New York North chapter of the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces Programs. Ms. Bergman is the founder of Operation Cookie Drop, an initiative which combines her 30 years as a Girl Scout leader and passion to help service members and veterans. Since 2002, Operation Cookie Drop has delivered cookies to every branch of service. Cookies have been distributed in all 62 counties in New York, 40 states, 63 countries, 26 ships, 15 VA hospitals, 25 USO centers, 5 Forward Operating Bases, 23 US Military Forts/Camps around the world, 12 Air Force Bases, 11 Veteran Food Pantries, and over 60 veteran support programs in New York. Operation Cookie Drop started with a first-year donation of 100 boxes mailed out to the USS Wasp, and this past year — donations reached 110,000 boxes, including the milestone 1.5 millionth box that was presented to a sailor onboard the USS Gerald Ford. Ms. Bergman also volunteers in numerous local and community organizations, including the American Legion, Veteran Affairs Voluntary Service, Montrose VA Food Pantry, My Brother Vinny, United for the Troops, Westchester County Veteran Alliance Committee, Girl Scouts of America, and the Town of Greenburgh Women Veteran Peace Garden.
Ginger Kelley — Ms. Kelley is a Marine Corps Veteran and EY Partner, currently serving as a USO board member. She is extremely passionate about supporting active-duty military transition to civilian life and the work force. In 2010 she co-founded, along with 4 others, the EY Veteran Network. The VetNet started with five members and grew to over 3,000 known members. During this time Ms. Kelley and team have been responsible for building out the infrastructure including but not limited to recruiting, onboarding and integrating veterans into EY. Ms. Kelley and team also support veteran community outreach programs such as Project Jericho and are heavily involved in partnering with groups such as Veterans on Wall St (VOWS). As a USO board member, she has had the opportunity to continue this passion by speaking to/working with a number of active-duty women on key considerations and resources available to leverage as they each think about their transition from military to civilian life/work.