Meet Ashley

When was the first time that you seriously considered military service?

The military was just a good fit for me. I’m a Type A personality, and I had been an athlete for 13 years throughout my schooling then later in a a tech school where I was dedicated to career advancement. I knew I wanted to pay for my schooling, and the military was a good fit for my values. It helped that my uncle was in the service as well. So I tried to get in around September of 2011, having been put on wavier for my eyes I entered in November 2011. I’ve been in the National Guard since 2011.

How did it feel to enlist in the armed services?

I definitely felt like I had a greater sense of purpose. A lot of us go through life wondering who we are. But the military gave me a sense of purpose and a drive. I ended up going to RSP for 6 months before leaving for my initial date in May. The informable training I received made me feel distinguished, educated, and on the fast track. I always knew what I was going to do, but to actually be there gave me a great sense of peace.

What’s the best memory you have of your service?

I was a PT Stud during my initial training. The physical fitness is a huge part of being a soldier. And I excelled at in it immediately. I lead the company and held the company colors for a great extent of my training. People looked up to me. I was the acting Bay Boss for all the females, handling basic medical questions, stretching, and mediator. I was the go-to person for questions and answers. I lead by example.

What was the hardest thing to adapt to in civilian life?

Transition. Transition is such a key component. You’re coming from an environment of trust, connection and comradery. But in the civilian world you see people’s true colors. People just don’t want to make an effort. Everything’s loosey-goosey. You sometimes wonder how certain people manage to get through the day. After I left, I started looking for something that gave me the sense of purpose through my education, career, and giving back to my community.

How did you hear about Women of Hope?

I was invited to the gala event on December 6th, 2014 as part of an invite extended to my supervisor at Cuyahoga Community College. I loved the staff, and immediately volunteered to be a mentor.

What’s the one service you feel that female veterans need?

When I think about my soldiers, I’m seeing a lot of self-esteem issues. Most women in the military hold themselves to a higher standard. ‘Most’ being the key word. There’s an odd dichotomy of women trying to support each other while tearing each other down. I think that comes from working in an environment with men who feel intimidated when you out perform them, then you become a threat. The men are looking at us constantly. Change has been made, but you still have to keep proving yourself.

I’m a senior specialist, up for a promotion to sergeant. As of right now I’m top of PT, warrior skills, SSD 1, WLC qualified and I would be willing say that I’m in good standing with everyone in my unit. I took Battalion Soldier of the Year 2013 for military police in the state of Ohio. I only had a week’s notice before the competition for Best Warriors Challenge. But I placed top 3rd over experienced soldiers in higher ranks

One bad female soldier in a group increases the scrutiny on you. One bad female soldier in a group and suddenly even a joke can be misconstrued to those females whom have done no wrong, a woman excelling is placed on who she knows not what she knows in a man’s eyes. The slightest rumor of bad behavior – unit incest – will disrupt the life of every other woman on the base. I think women need program to find there self-worth and push themselves to be there best selves. A group of support not ridicule.

What is the one thing that you bring with you to Women of Hope?

Selfless service. I’ve always considered myself a vessel to the Lord. It’s my duty to heal help, and educate. I feel giving back to those in the community who need it most is crucial. And the more chances I have to mentor, the more I know I will be able to assist.

If you could choose one word to describe your future, what would that word be?

Compassionate. I say that because in all aspects of my life, I do things with compassion. Whether it’s my physical therapy or my time in the service, I always want to serve others. I see compassion as one of the main constants in my life.

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