Alvira Agee: "I Can Do That"
After a visit with 90-year-old Alvira Agee, it’s easy to see that she could do anything she put her mind to. Alvira developed a “can do” attitude beginning with her childhood on a farm that “raised kids and wheat”.
During WWII she recalls collecting scrap iron to donate to the war effort. She said “after President Roosevelt called it a ‘day of infamy’, it was a scary time in our country. Everyone was trying to do their part.”
After high school, Alvira became a Registered Nurse. In 1951 she wanted to “do more” for her country. Going against the conventional wisdom of the time, she joined the U.S. Air Force. She thought “I can do that” and besides, “I wanted to see the world.” After enlisting as a 2nd Lieutenant, she was “put right to work in a hospital at Larson Air Force base in WA.”
Her career took her to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio after she convinced her commanding officer that “I was interested in Psychiatry.” Alvira thought, “I can do that.” She was transferred to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls for training in Neuropsychiatry. Her wish to “see the world” began when she was sent to an air base near Bordeaux, France. Because Alvira wasn’t afraid to try anything, she became a “jack of all trades, doing everything from clerical [work] to delivering babies to assisting in surgery.”
The young officer was sent to Roswell Air Force Base where she met and married Charlie Agee, a medic and ambulance driver from Rush Springs OK. The couple was soon transferred back to France. This time she went to Toul-Rosiéres Air Base and Charlie was stationed at a base 30 miles away, which enabled them to visit many places in Europe. Her service came to an end, however, when she was given an Honorable Discharge because she was pregnant. She had served her country over 13 years and attained the rank of Major.
The Agees raised three children: Charles Dwayne who was born in Chablais, France, Charlotte Loraine born in Spokane, WA, and Robert Wesley born in San Antonio.
Her life was bolstered by the strong faith of her uncle, K.C. Bailey, a well-known missionary to India and an Army veteran who devoted his life to serving others. She was also influenced by an older brother who served in the Army during WWII in the Philippines. He is now 91 and lives with Alvira’s sister in Wyoming.
This phenomenal woman has overcome many health challenges including arthritis, gallbladder surgery and a heart attack, but she attributes her full life and abilities to Jesus, her Savior. She has been ambulating by wheelchair since 2008 and has a strong support group, including South Plains Church of Christ and the Lakeridge Ladies from Lakeridge Chapel.
Noteworthy in this well-educated and well-traveled nurse is her whimsical side which is expressed in the unique gifts she makes for her children and others. She has delighted countless loved ones with her fanciful crocheted creations.
Alvira is deeply thankful for the 2016 Honor Flight. On that unforgettable trip she was able to spend time at each memorial, appreciating the sacrifices of all veterans. Her gratitude was enhanced by years of wisdom and experience, and it was a truly moving time for her. She treasures the time spent with her daughter Charlotte who accompanied her as Guardian. Getting to hold and lay the wreath which symbolized so many of her brothers and sisters who served in the Korean War, was a full-circle moment for her.
When asked what advice she has for future Americans, she unreservedly states, “Determination”. She is proud of her military service and ascribes much of her awareness and success to being willing to expand her horizons. Alvira’s prayer is for future generations to embrace patriotism and service to their country.
Respectfully submitted by
Larry A. Williams and Katherine McLamore
Veterans Liaison Co-Chairs
Texas South Plains Honor Flight