Both sets of my grandparents were very devout Christians and my parents were raised in the church; however, when my parents divorced they both stopped going to church so I did too. I was only two so I didn’t have much choice. When I graduated high school I had a job in mind, I wanted to be a flight nurse. They in a lot of ways have one of the hardest jobs. They keep people alive and healthy when airlifted to a hospital. I had been a CNA for a year and I knew the best chance I had was to join the Air Force, so I did. This was 2000 so my thought was that it wasn’t like we were going to war or anything.
In the military I completed my training and while still new to my job field they sent me to Afghanistan. In Afghanistan I had a problem: I started to notice my vision getting worse. So I was sent to the med group and ultimately home. I was transferred into the reserves and stationed back home in Minneapolis. I saw several doctors and all of them said they thought whatever caused the deterioration of my retina had stopped at least for now. It was then after about a year of doctor appointments that I was discharged and labeled legally blind. I was sent to counseling and also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress due to my war time experiences. The PTSD has been really hard. I have anxiety and panic attacks from it and without good vision I am unable to drive and at times I find it hard to get out of the house.
When I first started with Crown I was moving from school to school without a hope for my future. I went to colleges, took a few classes and didn’t take it seriously. I ultimately left Crown but I had a ton of religious books and an audio version of the Bible. I started going to counseling to get my PTSD under control and learn to expect my vision loss. In this process I really came to know God. I knew he was there and I finally let him guide me. It was then that I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wanted to help other vets and others who are struggling to find a path again. This was when I knew that counseling was going to be my major. Sure enough, I found that major at Crown. Crown was the place that brought me to God, so I thought it was fitting that it be the place to give me that launching point!