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Soldiers & Sailors 7th Annual African-American Heritage Celebration “Black Veterans with Success” to Focus on Females


PITTSBURGH — Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Trust, Inc. today announced it will host its 7th Annual African-American Heritage Celebration on Saturday, February 11, 2017. The program, titled “Black Veterans with Success: Their History and Commitment to Excellence” will be held at 1 p.m. in the Gettysburg Room.

“Soldiers & Sailors honors the contributions of all those who have served their country, regardless of gender, ethnicity or national origin and this celebration allows us to emphasize the contributions that African-Americans have made to the military,” said Director of Education Tim Neff. “This year we will highlight African-American female veterans so the community can learn about and recognize their significant contributions and accomplishments.”

Retired Soldiers & Sailors Historian John L. Ford Sr., will moderate the panel discussion:

John L. Ford Sr.

John L. Ford retired from Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in 2015 after working part-time as a historian since 2007. John has taught African-American history at two Pittsburgh universities and collected primary source materials pertaining to Black history for over 35 years. He is also retired from the Senator John Heinz History Center where he was a director in the Education Division and curator for Pittsburgh’s first Underground Railroad exhibit.

At Soldiers & Sailors John worked as the lead curator for the Slave to Soldier Exhibit highlighting African-American history before, during and after the Civil War. John also developed the first African American Heritage Celebration event which has become an important part of the museum’s annual community outreach. A significant contribution by John has been his work with the 6th Regiment USCT Drum Corps program. He served as the lead drum instructor, history educator and administrator for the group as they became ambassadors for Soldiers & Sailors.

Panelists :

Sergeant E-5 Haya H. Eason, Veteran U.S. Marine Corps

Haya Eason was born in 1963 in Detroit, Michigan and enlisted in the Marines while still in High School. She left for boot camp in May 1981 and served nine years on active duty before being honorably discharged as a Sergeant (E-5) in June 1990. Eason’s Military Specialty was Administration/Personnel Records Clerk. Eason held positions including Service Records Audit Chief, Assistant Personnel Chief, Personnel Clerk, Student Records Clerk and Discharge Clerk. Eason served at U.S. posts including Camp LeJuene, NC and overseas in Okinawa, Japan.

After being honorably discharged, Eason continued to work in the administration field in various cities including Charleston, SC, and Durham, NC, before moving to the Pittsburgh area where she currently works with the Bethel Park Municipality. Eason married a Marine Corps veteran, has one daughter and resides in Bethel Park. She regularly speaks at her daughter’s school on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, addressing such issues as women in the military and the affects of PTSD on returning veterans and their families. Eason and her family attend the Veterans Day parade each year and she also regularly attends Veterans Breakfast Club gatherings in Bethel Park.

Corporal Denise Donae (Timpson) Hughey, Veteran U.S. Marine Corps Reserves

Corporal Denise Donae Hughey enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in May 1977 with the military specialty of Basic Administration. Hughey completed boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina. During her basic training, Hughey served in the first Women Marines battalion to qualify on the M-16 rifle. Upon graduation, she entered Basic Administration School, also on Parris Island. She served in the reserves for three years through 1980 while returning to her studies at the University of Pittsburgh to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Non-Fiction/Journalism in April 1981. As a USMC reservist, Hughey participated in monthly drills in Oakland. Her responsibilities included general correspondence and promotion communication/certificates. She also participated in summer training in Camp Lejeune and cold weather training in Michigan. Hughey received an Honorable Discharge.

Upon graduation from the University of Pittsburgh, Hughey began working with the Nuclear Services Procedure Writing Department at Westinghouse Instrument Services Company, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Corporation.  Her position at Westinghouse led to her to a strong interest in information technology. Hughey then completed an MBA/MS in Management of Information Systems at the University of Pittsburgh in April 1991. Over the past 25 years, she has worked in several leadership roles in information technology in the pharmaceutical industry and consulting, predominantly in the healthcare industry. Additionally, Hughey has also served in leadership roles in various non-profit organizations.

 Soldiers & Sailors Museum will be open to the public FREE during normal museum hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

on this day.

For more information please visit or call (412) 621-4253.


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Soldiers & Sailors is the nation’s only memorial and museum dedicated to honoring the men and women of all branches of service, and in all capacities (Active, Reserve, Guard). The historic building was designed by renowned architect Henry Hornbostel and has exhibits covering all of America’s conflicts from the Civil War through Afghanistan. The museum offers a unique look into American history by telling the stories of the individuals that served our country through military equipment and personal mementos.