Silver Stars Inspiring Women Contest Winner Selected
O’Connor will join the four other inspiring women - Thomas Jefferson High School Principal Joanne Cockrell; Life-long Army servicewomen Lucy Coffey, who recently celebrated her 105th birthday; Author of Small Biz Big Results Cheryl Cook and Director of Learning and Education and Development for Valero Energy Corporation, Laura Vaccaro – at the Silver Stars game against Los Angeles at June 24. The five honorees will participate in a pregame women’s networking event, receive tickets to the game for their families and will be honored on the court during the game.
O’Connor joined the U.S. Army after high school, where she served as a military police officer and military investigator. After leaving the Army in 1986, she applied for the San Antonio Police Department, following in the footsteps of her childhood mentor, Officer Matacek. In December 1991, while on night shift patrol, O’Connor responded to a welfare concern call from a son who was unable to get in contact with his mother. While on the scene, O’Connor was interviewing a man sitting outside the residence while her partner went in to locate the mother. When her partner yelled that the woman had been shot and killed, the man O’Connor was interviewing pulled a gun and put it to her head. She instinctively grabbed the barrel and pushed it away as the suspect pulled the trigger. The bullet went through O’Connor’s hand and lodged in her bicep.
O’Connor was told that she would probably never retain full use of her hand, but with vigorous rehabilitation she was able to overcome that injury and was honored by the police department with a Purple Heart Award. She earned her degree in criminal justice and continued her position in patrol until 1992, when she became a full-time mother by adopting her young nephew. During this time, she also became the first female firearms instructor in the San Antonio Police Department training academy.
In 1994, O’Connor fulfilled a life-long dream by obtaining her fixed wing pilots license and in 2001, she became the first and only female helicopter pilot in the SAPD Helicopter Unit. In 2008, O’Connor received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Women in Law Enforcement. She is currently a Senior Pilot and trainer with the unit.
Silver Stars individual tickets are available now at all San Antonio Ticketmaster locations, including by phone at (210) 225-TEAM, or online at ticketmaster.com or sasilverstars.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the AT&T Center Southeast Box Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or on weekend event days starting at 10 a.m. or by calling 210-444-5090.