[Just a bit of a preamble here. I typically do a post like this every Veterans Day on my Facebook page. Though we are both Army Veterans (where we met), I always try to highlight her status as a Veteran above my own. I do this because society tends not to see her, or any female Veterans for what they truly are. I’ve witnessed it firsthand, people assuming my service to be more important than her service. This is obviously not the case. She is amazing and I mean every word you are about to read.]
I saw her for the first time in the winter of 2010. I didn’t know anything about her, but my instinct told me that she was special. I wasn’t wrong. That was nearly nine years ago to the day. In the time since that day I first laid my eyes on her, she has done more with her life than most people do in a whole lifetime.
She agreed to step into my life, adopting my daughter Laila as her own child. She became a biological mother not long after to our daughter Sophia, a child born with autism that was about to challenge us both in ways we never imagined possible.
Despite her need to be at home with her newborn, duty insisted she do her job and on her daughters first birthday, Ashley boarded a plane headed for Afghanistan. Nerves of steel. This was the longest year of our life, but we planned our moves carefully.
Before her return to the States, she had a job as a Correctional Officer and was ready for her exit from the military. She drove two hours to work and two hours home every day for a year until a better opportunity presented itself. That opportunity saw her become a Sheriff. Always on the hunt for the next goal, she would eventually find herself working as a Police Officer.
She chose this line of work not because it is easy, but because it is hard. She wants to be the standard bearer in life, someone that her own children, as well as other little girls, can look up to. She does all of this and she makes it look easy. She is a Veteran and so much more, and this is why each Veterans day I choose to highlight Ashley Armstead.
Hope everyone has a Great Veterans Day.
(This was something I originally posted elsewhere on Veterans day but felt it deserved a spot here on the blog