Landstuhl reservist named El Paso Times Woman of the Year
September 5, 2003
Until recently, Army Reserve Chaplain (Maj.) Felicia Hopkins was unaware of the impact her work had on others.
Hopkins, of El Paso, Texas, has been deployed since March and is currently serving as a staff chaplain at the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. She was recognized in August as the El Paso Times Woman of the Year. The Times is the local daily newspaper.
“I had no idea,” Hopkins said. “I didn’t know I was going to get it at all. … They called me three days before I got it,” Hopkins said.
Soon after hearing of the honor, she flew home to receive the award.
The award recognizes someone who excels as an executive, teacher, volunteer, mother and daughter. Hopkins was chosen by a committee of business leaders, city government officials and El Paso citizens.
Her family, church members, individuals at the University of Texas at El Paso and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso felt the same way.
“People from all walks of my life nominated me,” said Hopkins, who served at the Beaumont center last year during Operation Noble Eagle, the U.S. military’s homeland defense initiative.
In addition to being a major in the Army Reserve, Hopkins is a former teacher at the University of Texas at El Paso, an associate pastor at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, a wife and the mother of two boys.
While at the University of Texas, she served as the director of campus ministry, creating the PRAXIS [meaning “human action” in Greek] program, which puts student volunteers where they are needed in the local community. The program is now the largest community-based program in the University of Texas system.
“Eighty-five percent of the students stay there after they graduate, so we wanted to infuse them into the community,” Hopkins said. “Our goal is to get them active while they’re students and pray that they continue.”
Hopkins’ military career began 20 years ago.
After enlisting in the Army, she attended Officer Candidate School and served on active duty as an officer for several years. She left the military to join the corporate work force, a job that would later be interrupted by a diagnosis of uterine cancer.
The diagnosis helped her come to grips with her purpose in the world and her place in it.
“When I was recovering, I decided I should do something meaningful with my life,” Hopkins said.
She returned to church, started volunteering and later felt called to the ministry.
“So, I went to seminary, became an ordained minister and one day, I was sitting on a bench and a guy came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you look like you’d be good in the Army,’ ” Hopkins said.
“He didn’t know I had been in. So I just listened to him and [then] went over to the National Guard [unit] and they scooped me up.”
Unless her orders are extended, Hopkins is scheduled to stay at Landstuhl until March.
“It’s been a remarkable year,” Hopkins said. “Wherever there’s a need, we’ll fill it.”
As she told the audience when she received her award, “Serve is what I do.”