Edwards Air Force Base is no stranger to names throughout its history who have met adversity and overcome it and Oct. 25, Team Edwards members were, once again, treated to a visit from another brave soul who has met adversity in their own way, and overcame it, in the form of quadriplegia.
As a reality TV star, model and producer of the new Sundance Channel reality show called “Push Girls,” Angela Rockwood experienced her trial of adversity in 2001 after being involved in a car accident, which paralyzed her from the neck down. Now, more than 11 years later, Angela travels every opportunity she can to share her story and the story of others who have overcome adversity.
“Even though this was the first day of filming for our second season in Los Angeles, as a producer, there are some perks that go along with the title, so I was fortunate enough to get away for the day in order to not only tour the base but meet the brave military members behind the base,” said Rockwood. “Being here today, and seeing our military at work, brought back so many memories.”
Rockwood, whose father retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant, had the opportunity to travel to different military installations as a military child which was something she discussed during her visit here.
“While looking back on my time as a military child, at first, I disliked moving around all the time, because of all the relationships and friends you’d have to leave, but looking back now, I am very grateful for the opportunity I had as a military child,” added Rockwood. “Because of those experiences, it’s taught me so much in the sense of culture. I was able to travel the world and learn about so many different cultures. I also have friends in almost every part of the world now, so it’s neat being able to reconnect with friends throughout the world or wherever my dad was assigned.”
As one of the stars of the series who aims to show how four fearless, wheelchair-using women face life’s many trials, Rockwood had the opportunity to meet men and women from the 418th Flight Test Squadron who explained their role at Edwards and in flight test advancements.
“It was spectacular to really find out what everyone does and how much attention to detail goes behind each job,” she said. “Overall, it was overwhelming. They all do a phenomenal job and they need to know that and realize that people like me and others really appreciate it.”
As part of the day’s activities, Rockwood said she was particularly honored to be able to attend the National Disability Employment Awareness Month luncheon hosted by the Air Force Test Center and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Club Muroc.
“Bringing awareness about disability is so important because a lot of individuals are sometimes unaware and hesitant to inquire about what being disabled entails and a cure for ignorance is awareness,” said Rockwood. “It’s very important to educate people, to inspire them and to allow them to know what it is to live with a disability, because a lot of people may be scared to ask. If you’re open, honest and comfortable about bringing the awareness, it gets people informed and people are able to come together at an equal level.”
Near the end of her tour of Edwards, Rockwood concluded her visit by speaking to military and civilian members from the 412th Maintenance Group during a commander’s call.
“Disability not only comes in the physical form, but it can also come in the form of a mental or emotional disability, like fear. So it’s important to realize that in spite of a disability, there are still many possibilities out there and you’re the only one that keeps yourself from attaining those goals,” added Rockwood. “The two biggest things I could share with everyone today is to always be grateful for what you have and not to focus on what you don’t have, but what you do have.”