Assemblyman Tom Lackey honored Navy veteran Gwendolyn Bolden as the 2018 Veteran of the Year in the 36th District Thursday.
Bolden enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1951 and served in the Korean Emergency at various duty stations. She later enrolled in Officer Candidate School and served as an education officer for the Commandant Ninth Naval District in Great Lakes, Illinois.
The honoree achieved the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) and served until 1956, when she was honorably discharged.
After leaving the military, Bolden spent the rest of her career focused on education and community service. She became a science and math teacher in Southern California, and was later a runner-up for California Teacher of the Year in 1977.
Bolden also served as CEO of the Gwen Bolden Youth Foundation from 1979 to 2009, which is an organization devoted to improving student academic achievement through after-school programs.
For her work, she was recognized with numerous awards and accolades from the Los Angeles Board of Education, Air Force Flight Test Center and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
She was also recognized for her community service when Gwen Bolden Manor, an affordable housing development in Los Angeles, was named after her.
In 2005, Bolden was invited to visit the White House by President George W. Bush, and the same year received the African American Trailblazers Award from California Congresswoman Diane Watson.
“Ms. Bolden has been an outstanding example to her community throughout both her military and civilian career. From her time as an officer in the Navy to her career as a teacher and nonprofit executive, she has been committed to educating others and giving back to those around her,” Lackey said. “I could not be more proud to honor her as the 36th Assembly District’s Veteran of the Year.”