NEWS | July 13, 2022

Virginia National Guard celebrates Unity Day

By A.J. Coyne | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia National Guard celebrated Unity Day June 22, 2022, at the Virginia National Guard Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Presented by the VNG Joint Diversity Council, the event featured speeches from Jason Pak, the Virginia Deputy Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and Mila Demchyk, a native of Ukraine, displays and information booths on a number of cultures, as well as a variety of food tastings. 

Demchyk, who moved to the United States in 2010, shared with the audience the history of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, as well as her family’s history. Her husband is currently in Ukraine, delivering aide alongside other volunteers.  

She was followed by Pak, a West Point grad and second generation Korean-American, who was wounded in Afghanistan and lost both legs. He shared stories of his grandfather and father and his family’s desire to serve this country.  

“We really leaned on the values, the foundations of the military,” Pak said. “My grandparents were very fond of that. They knew that having the basic foundation of what the military has to offer really sets you up for success in life.” 

Displays and information booths were set up around the room on Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Pride Month, National African American/Black History, National American Indian Heritage, National Disability Employment Awareness, Women’s History and National Hispanic Heritage.  

Brig, Gen. Toni Lord, the Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, provided opening and closing remarks for the event and recognized the work and dedication of the members of the JDC.  

“Nothing could be done without them and without your support,” she said. 

Following the speakers, attendees were treated to a variety of food offerings from three different Richmond-area vendors.   

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