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Marilyn Dirk Tells Rotary About Dr. Mary Walker

OSWEGO, NY – America’s only female Medal of Honor holder, Doctor Mary E. Walker, portrayed by Marilyn E. Dirk, visited the Oswego Sunrise Rotary club on Thursday.

Rotary President Carol Reed greets Marilyn E. Dirk.
Rotary President Carol Reed greets Marilyn E. Dirk.

Marilyn told the assembled Rotarians about the life and struggle of the Town of Oswego native.

Mary struggled to get an education.

She earned money to enter college.

She was admitted to the medical school at Syracuse University.

At school, she was taunted and criticized because she was the only female student.

After a brief marriage and attempt to establish a medical practice, Mary offered her service as a surgeon to the Union Army during the Civil War.

Enrolled as a nurse, Mary treated wounded soldiers from both the North and South.

She acted as a civilian surgeon at the battle of Fredericksburg.

She went to Richmond to treat wounded troops from both the North and South.

After the war, she was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The medal was withdrawn by the government after the war and later restored in 1977.

Mary died in 1917.