BY AMY HILL
Below are the stories of three brave and amazing young ladies who are serving their community and country by enlisting in the National Guard.
Brittany is 25 years old and grew up in Madison, NC. After being homeschooled, Brittany earned her Associate in Arts degree from Guilford Technical Community College. Inspired by her father, grandfather, and uncle, who all served in the Navy, Brittany decided to enlist in the National Guard in June 2020. She was interested in the National Guard because of the benefits and flexibility that the branch offers. Brittany states, “I had originally wanted to join active duty when I was 18, but my grandfather and father said that active duty was not the best place for a woman who also wants to start a family. The National Guard allows me to serve my country while also maintaining my career and family.”
Although she is nervous about the (unlikely) possibility of failure, Brittany is optimistic and very excited for the camaraderie she will experience with her fellow soldiers. Before enlisting, Brittany volunteered at her church as an assistant in the 1st and 2nd-grade Impact Girls group classes. When asked where she sees herself in 10 years, Brittany envisions herself still serving in the National Guard and having children. She would love to stay at home and homeschool her children, work on her garden, and raise chickens while her husband brings home the bacon.
A resident of Kernersville, Natalie is 19 years old and is currently a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She lived in Brazil for two years, played volleyball since the 5th grade, and played soccer since the 10th grade. A former volunteer for World Relief, which assists refugees in finding homes and acclimating to a new culture, Natalie’s desire to serve her country and to be a part of something bigger than herself inspired her to enlist in the National Guard in May 2019. The National Guard will push Natalie in a way she has never been pushed before while still allowing her to maintain friendships and continue on her college path.
Having been in the National Guard for over a year, Natalie has discovered the amazing opportunities and experiences the Guard has to offer and is excited for her future in the Guard. Prior to enlisting, Natalie was frightened about deployment and being separated from her loved ones, but was not afraid of the challenge and how hard she would have to work. She is still wary of spending time away but plans to take it “head-on” and remain as optimistic as possible.
In 10 years, Natalie hopes to be working a job that makes her happy and living life with someone she loves (hopefully her current boyfriend). Natalie explains, “I want to be strong in my faith, strong in my relationships, and living life to the fullest.” You can follow Natalie and her journey on Instagram at @natalieclairepeters.
Brooke had been contemplating joining the National Guard for a couple of months before the day she attended MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) in June 2020, when she decided to take the plunge and enlist. Her twin sister Brittany was also interested in joining the National Guard and frequently discussed the idea with Brooke. Due to COVID-19, Brooke was unsure whether she would be able to return to her job at the NC Zoo and was interested in the various job options and college assistance that the branch has to offer. She is grateful for the opportunities that have opened up to her through the military and looks forward to becoming stronger and helping her community.
Brooke is 25 years old and enjoys hiking, biking, geocaching, and exploring new places. In fact, she visited 30 of North Carolina’s state parks in 2019 with her North Carolina State Parks Passport. While living in South Africa, she volunteered with youth camps and served as a “camp mom” to young girls. She had a great experience in South Africa and still remains in contact with some of the children she met during her time volunteering. In 2015, Brooke joined AmeriCorps and spent five months as an Interpretive Trail volunteer. She discovered her passion for educating people about the natural world during her position at Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia, where she earned the nickname of the “Snake Lady” due to the popularity of her educational snake program.