MECHANICSBURG, PA (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems (NAVSUP) Command Headquarters sponsored a Hispanic Heritage Month program for its military and civilian personnel Oct. 9 in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Paul Navarro, a professional engineer with more than 25 years of experience with design and construction of civil engineering projects in Central Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic region, and several Latin American countries, served as the guest speaker for the event.
NAVSUP's Assistant Commander for Enterprise Logistics Engineering, Karen Meloy, began the ceremony by explaining that the strength of our Navy and nation is "derived from the diversity of our people, and Hispanic Sailors and employees play a critical role in our Navy today," she said. "Our diversity will continue to enrich our Navy and nation's character and strengthen our ability to serve worldwide."
Navarro, who immigrated to the United States from Jalisco, Mexico, in 1975, began his speech by highlighting the potential that diversity and inclusion have on "building a stronger nation," he said. "This is very much in line with the theme for this year's Hispanic Heritage month, which is 'Diversity United, Building America's Future.' Diversity has come of age, people get it, and by people I mean corporate America, federal and state government institutions, and our military and media," he explained.
He said in the 1800s when America saw an influx of immigrants, there was a lot of work available, but opportunities for upward mobility were severely limited. "So, what was going to change this situation, what was going to be the catalyst that would eventually allow the diversity that we know and are experiencing today, to flourish?" he asked. "The great equalizer -- education!" Navarro explained that as these communities settled and new generations of descendants came of age, it became evident to them that in order to achieve the American dream, a good education was the key.
"Educational opportunities are one of the greatest things about America. Its academic institutions are some of the best in the world -- where the sons and daughters of that Irish mason, that Chinese railroad worker, or that Mexican farm worker can grow up and become a lawyer, or a doctor, or an engineer, and be contributing members of society," he said, "and this is very much a part of my story."
He explained that once he came to the U.S. at age 13, he enrolled in a Catholic school in Steelton, Pa. His father was a carpenter working in his uncle's construction company, and it was there that Navarro was introduced to civil engineering. "I had a passion for building and had always done well in math and science, so I pursued a career in engineering," he said. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985 with a degree in engineering, and today he has an 84-person company servicing many clients.
In closing, Navarro said, "Diversity provides strength, and diversity provides opportunity, and it truly reflects the strength of our nation."
The NAVSUP and Navy Supply Corps team share one mission--to deliver sustained global logistics capabilities to the Navy and Joint warfighter. NAVSUP/Navy Supply Corps' diverse team of more than 25,000 civilian and military personnel oversee a diverse portfolio including supply chain management for material support to Navy, Marine Corps, joint and coalition partners, supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, security assistance, and quality of life issues for the naval forces, including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods. The NAVSUP/Navy Supply Corps team forms a vast network of professionals who deliver unparalleled products and services to customers in the fleet and across the world.
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