Over the next week-and-a-half KTAR will be introducing and profiling the Grand Marshals for this year’s Veterans Day Parade in Phoenix.
PHOENIX — Mary Ellen Kenworthey’s military interest was evident in high school. She was always drawn to the Air Force recruiting events, but spent a year as a nurse’s aide before enlisting.
“I knew I wanted to be in the military as a nurse,” Kenworthey said. “I had read stories and always been interested in history and read about military nurses.
“The nurses I respected had backgrounds as military nurses. They were excellent.”
Kenworthey enlisted in the late 70s and was assigned to Andrews Air Force Base.
“Working in a major medical center was very enjoyable,” she said. “I learned a lot and really enjoyed working the labor and delivery area which is where I started feeling women’s health was my area of expertise.”
She’s using that expertise as a nurse practitioner at Mountain Park Health Center in Phoenix.
“Everybody has different moments where you’re explaining something to a patient and they understand it in whatever way you can communicate that and it helps them,” Kenworthey explained.
As a grand marshal for the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Kenworthey will represent military nurses and all veterans from the Cold War Era, which is 1945-1991.
“I’m really honored to be among this group, “she said. “Everybody, I think, knows someone whether a relative, friend, grandfather or grandmother who served and I hope people would come and pay respects to those who served.”
Kenworthey says her Marine father served stateside from 1945-55. One uncle was an Army and Air Force combat pilot during World War II while another was a Marine combat veteran in the Korean War.