I quit high school at 17 to join the U.S. Navy. Life was New and exciting, and I couldn't wait to be in it. In February of 1996, I left home to go to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, ready for a big adventure. It was challenging in the ways I expected it to be, and shocking in others. Service in the military is a proud family tradition, and it was something I found worth doing.
I quit high school at 17 to join the U.S. Navy. Life was New and exciting, and I couldn't wait to be in it. In February of 1996, I left home to go to bootcamp in Great Lakes, Illinois, ready for a big adventure. It was challenging in the ways I expected it to be, and shocking in others. Service in the military is a proud family tradition, and it was something I found worth doing.
“It was the best decision I've made in my adult life.”
My service in the Navy didn't exactly prepare me for "real" life, but it certainly gave me a sense of self-direction. I had developed discipline, competency with tools, and a logical understanding of following directions, but it was the determination to be myself what sealed my fate. Interest in the arts and telling stories resonated more with me than math and engineering. It was the decision to daringly pursue creative endeavors that lead me to the path I'm on today.
I was told not to mention my service on my resume.
Several people told me that putting my service on my resume would actually hurt my chances for a job. Since my career was television and film, this seemed reasonable to me, and I willingly denied my service to my employers. For ten years, I labored under the illusion that people think veterans are all broken, the work culture is just too different, and women veterans, in particular, were flat-out dismissed and ignored. One afternoon, in an interview in Houston, a gentleman asked me if there was anything about my life that was not on my resume, so I told him I have served in the Navy. His response was opposite my fears- and I got the job. It changed my life that day, with that question.
That was the day I began identifying as a veteran in the community.
After some time at the station, I was given the opportunity to produce a series of vignettes about transitioning veterans, and I began logging the narratives of all kinds of people, men and women, from every era of recent history. The success of the Operation Appreciation and Empowering Arms vignettes lead to the creation and success of The Invisible Project. Working with my fellow veterans on this projects has been a healing mission for me, and in turn, the organizations featured got recognition that otherwise would have been overlooked. The community of Veterans in Houston is growing and expanding, and we are taking our leadership to other cities in Texas, and nationwide.