Coming from a small rural area in central Michigan, the child of a factory worker dad and a mom who worked in various clerical and administrative jobs, my understanding of going to college and how to pay for it was very limited. I was always in awe of uniforms and I joined the Army Delayed Entry program during the fall of my senior year in high school as a way to pay for college.
Ten days after graduation, I was on a bus to Detroit for final processing and swearing in for the start of my six-year enlistment, which included training at Fort Gordon in Georgia, two assignments to Germany, and an assignment at Fort Lewis in Washington.
That was many years ago, but it had a profound impact on my attitude, work ethic, and overall ability to adapt to any situation. Finding myself in a foreign country at 18 years old and bunking with women from other states, cultures, ethnicities, religions, and economic backgrounds was the best lesson in diversity and embracing differences that a young adult can experience. I truly love learning about other backgrounds and cultures to this day.
The camaraderie and the experiences that I had were invaluable. I loved my time in the Army. I’m married to another Army veteran, the daughter of an Air Force navigator, the sister to an Army and two Air Force veterans, and the very proud mother of an active duty Army soldier.
I look back on those experiences as building blocks to my future life, impacting my career, my family, the way I raised my children, the stories I share with my grandchildren, my ability to meet employees “where they are,” and make well-rounded decisions for Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union and our employees. I have so much respect for our current military personnel and pray for their safety as they continue to serve and protect our nation.
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