“Go Forward”- The Power of a Humble Servant

Born in Rochester, NY Marilyn Digirol obtained her BSN in Nursing and worked at University of Rochester Medical Center during the last part of the Polio epidemic. After her experience dealing with life and loss she then went to California served as head nurse of a San Francisco Emergency Room. While on a much needed vacation two Hawaii for 2 weeks for some R&R, Marilyn ended up staying for 7 months before returning home to Rochester where she became staff nurse at Rochester University Medical Center.

Always ready to learn and experience more, Marilyn enrolled in graduate school at University of Maryland school of Nursing where she received her Masters Degree in Nursing & Education. This was all accomplished before the age of 30.

In her early thirties, Marilyn joined the military. She joined the Army with a 2 year obligation for the Nurse Clinician Course in return. Her first assignment was as Fort Campbell, KY where she ran the pediatric clinic with 350 babies delivered per month. After a stint at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, she become program Director for 4 years at Fort Hood, Texas – nicknamed the “baby factory”. Marilyn was Assistant Chief of the Department of Nursing and Maternal child section.

In the early 80’s Col. Digirol served oversees in Landstuhl, Germany as Assistant Chief and Chief Nurse at Medical Center for three years. This was tense time to be oversees as terrorism was just beginning its rise. In the mid 80’s she returned The States and was grateful to be back “home” in Fort Gordon Georgia as Staff Development/Nursing Education. “It was beautiful to be back home”.

In 1994 Col. Digirol retired from army healthcare but her giving heart would not let her stop there. For the next 9 years she worked at an evening clinic as Nurse Practitioner Manager of Acute Minor Illness Clinic before moving to Florida to retire yet again.

Her desire to help children spurred her on to work for a home care company providing in-home nursing care for handicap children as well as provided corporate wellness clinic training. She retired for the last time in 2008 and now still stays true to her motto- “Serve God and County”. Col Marilyn Digirol volunteers in the Homeless Ministry, Eucharist Ministry (taking communion to those that are home bound), and is Vice Commander of the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) and is proud to have 1 daughter and 2 grandchildren.

The MOWW is committed to the mission: “It is nobler to serve than to be served.” MOWW serves America’s youth by hosting Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) programs throughout the United States—at no cost to high school students attending. These students receive patriotic education on leadership in a free society, free enterprise system concepts, principles of democracy, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and civic responsibilities associated with preserving American rights and freedoms. Students also develop speaking, writing and leadership skills, which contributes to them being better citizens and future leaders.

When asked what she is most proud of, Marilyn replied “the Lord blessed me throughout my career with prestigious military ranking, leadership opportunities – which the Army brought out in me. We live in a wonderful country. Our founding fathers put together values that I will fight for until I die.”

The colonel’s advice to the younger generation is to honor family, country and values. Live in the present. Don’t dwell on the past – go forward. Wise words from a woman who has lived so much and given so much. Marilyn is a humble servant who became a leader and mentor to many. Thank you for your service Col. Digirol.