By Heather Gursky
Assistant A&E Editor
During the free period on Tuesday, March 27, KU Veterans Services held their annual Women Veterans Luncheon. Rebecca Murga and Pamela Varkony, who are both big names in their line of work, were the guest speakers for the afternoon’s event.
Rebecca Murga, a KU alum, and film director in Los Angeles, was the first to speak. In the beginning, she talked about how 9/11 was the reason she joined the military; she was in the forces for 10 years with two deployments. Murga was first deployed in 2007 to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan taking combative photos. While she was there she was inspired by the other women she saw on the field.
During her second tour in 2011, she was a part of the nine teams sent to help out in Afghanistan. In between the two tours, Murga was a citizen for a small time in Afghanistan, aiding those who were in need. This is where she saw women much different lives from those of American women. She couldn’t wait to come home and tell her stories.
She now resides in L.A. as a filmmaker, writer and director. After five years of living as a civilian, Murga started to win awards and show more of her films in big festivals; some of her work can also be seen on HBO, ABC and A&E. She has also become a proud member and supporter of the Veterans in Media Entertainment organization, a group of 3,000 veterans who are actors, writers and producers residing in L.A.
The second speaker to tell her story was Pamela Varkony. After her introduction, she made it a point and emphasized that courage, character and commitment are three most important things for women in the military to have.
When asked what the “three c’s” mean to her, Varkony responded, “A woman my age, from my generation, has learned a lot about courage, character and commitment because we didn’t have the legal protection that a lot of women have now. So we had to establish, we had to fight for that, and what we did has laid groundwork for your (the millennials and younger) generation to do what you want to do.” The conversation then shifted to her work life and accomplishments.
In the interview, Vakony talked about how she and her husband were in Hungary when the Iron Curtain fell. They were the first two American consultants working with the government; she remarked that it was ‘fascinating.’
In 2007, she was a part of a medical assessment team embedded with the Army and Air Force medical teams. In Afghanistan, they assessed the medical facilities, particularly for women and children.
That last piece on the agenda was awarding Victoria Hernandez with the Women Veterans in Finance Scholarship. She has served in the military for four years as an aviation technician.