PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Tira Woods and David Potts Sr. served as the keynote speakers for a very special event at Ingalls Shipbuilding as part of Black History Month. The two shared powerful messages of overcoming adversity and reaching the top.
Woods serves as the very first African American female shipfitter superintendent at Ingalls.
"It was truly an honor," she said. "Anything that nobody can do, I try to do it and I actually pulled this one off."
It hasn't been easy she said but credited her mother's hard work for inspiring her to do great things.
"I was raised up by a single black mom," Woods recalled. "And me knowing the struggle she had to go through to get me where I'm at today, I was able to step up and say you know my mom took care of me as a single mom and raised five kids on her own, I can do it as well."
Woods instills the same hard-working mentality her mother instilled in her in her children.
Potts, the second keynote speaker, recalled the obstacles he had to overcome as well.
"Actually, being a Montford Point Marine was a horrible experience."
He is one of two surviving members of the Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans allowed to enlist in the Marine Corps.
Potts said one of his biggest obstacles was being segregated.
"I dealt with segregation gratefully because that was the way of life then," he said.
Potts takes a unique way of looking at life. In his eyes, he's lived in two different worlds.
"I've been able to see life in two ways. I lived one world, and then I lived to see it another way," he said.
Potts was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. Woods said she's not giving up. Her next career goal is to be in a director position.