Pat Shaver - A Great Republican Woman
Pat Shaver has been a member of the PWRC since the late 1960s. She served as our president from 1982-1984, and during her 50+ years of membership, she has served in every board position and worked on nearly every political campaign. She currently serves the PWRC as Chaplain and is the foremost authority on the history of our club, the longest serving member in PWRC’s existence, perhaps even state-wide.
Today at 102 years of age, she is still engaged in politics, having voted in every election “at the polls,” including our recent 2020 presidential election where she voted from her wheelchair. She is a dedicated Republican woman and remains a valued member of our PWRC team!
Ora “Pat” Cary was born in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1918 (near the end of WWI) and was one of three children. She married John Shaver, a Navy pathologist at NIH, in 1946. They were married for 49 years and had four children. These days, Pat at justifiably proud of her three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren!
Pat’s life has a rich military history. She became a Red Cross volunteer and was recognized by the National Naval Medical Center (now known as Walter Reed Military Medical Center) for her many years of service and dedication to the hospital. Shaver, who had volunteered at the hospital for nearly 35 years through the Red Cross, first became a Red Cross volunteer in the 1940’s. Walter Reed Military Medical Center acknowledged her volunteer service at her retirement party there, at the age of 93.
While volunteering as part of a disaster relief team at the hospital in her home state of Iowa, she was drafted into the Navy Nurse Corps. “The Red Cross gave me the option of choosing which service I wanted to enlist with before they submitted my name (to the draft board),” she said. She “chose the Navy because my two brothers were sailors at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona, and my cousin in the Navy, was a prisoner of war in a camp in the Philippines.” She also served in the South Pacific. “We went over on the ship and were chased by a Japanese submarine.” “I took care of a lot of wounded people from Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, you name it!”
Pat received a medal from the Department of Defense during Operation Desert Storm, also known as the Gulf War. It was awarded to her for her service as a volunteer in caring for those in the military who were injured during the Gulf War.
When Arena Stage in DC put on the play “South Pacific” about 10 years ago, they decided to ensure the accuracy of their presentation by getting first-hand information from a nurse who had actually served in the South Pacific during WWII.
They called the Women in Military Service for America Foundation, where Pat is honored and recognized as a charter member and the representative gave them Pat’s name. They asked her to tell them about her WW II experience. Shaver told them a story of meeting Mrs. Roosevelt who had come into the ward and that Mrs. Roosevelt shook her hand. Pat also added that “Mrs. Roosevelt met with all the patients and was very kind to them, even stopping to write a letter to a young man’s parents because he was injured and couldn’t do it.” Pat also mentioned to those from Arena Stage that they had the wrong uniform on their actor/nurses. Apparently, they were incorrectly using an army uniform instead of a naval uniform.
When asked by young people of today for her sage advice, her response was for them to join the military to learn responsibility, good habits and to keep our country strong. As for her message to the current generations, she wishes they were as kind as they were in years past……. There’s “not enough kindness these days.”
Submitted by the Historian of the Potomac Women's Republican Club.