On June 9, 2010, Adjutant General Larry Shellito announced he would be retiring and stepping down from his position as commander of the Minnesota National Guard. Now he is one incredible American. I was standing in the back of the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol, observing the General and the Governor carry on a press conference, and I heard it. In our lives, God doesn’t talk to us in clear terms very frequently. So when he does, you really have to listen. “You should do this. There’s no reason you can’t serve too.” Hello? What? Hmm. Okay.
For the rest of the summer I poured myself into researching Army life. Okay, I did look into the Air Force too, but my heart said Army. I bought books, read blogs, downloaded apps, had informational interviews, I was a little obsessive. Because of my position with the Governor, I was so fortunate to have the very top of the Minnesota Guard guiding and assisting me. Specifically, Brigadier General Kelly, the Assistant Adjutant General. He was an amazing help, putting me in touch with so many resources and contacts and always being an email or phone call away. I probably made this decision with more information than any other recruit in history.
I woke up the morning of October 8, 2010, the day I swore in, and thought, “Today, I’m marrying America.” It sounds funny, but it was serious stuff. No backing out. I was nervous, but really excited. Since that day, the nervous-excited emotion has remained pretty constant and I don’t see it dying down any time soon.
I love this country. I love this country so much. I cry during the Star Spangled Banner. I tear up during the Pledge of Allegiance. I wear cowboy boots with my Levi jeans while eating buffalo wings and drinking beer. The sight of tractors out on the farm kinda takes my breath away. I’ve been known to boot scoot n’ boogie, but I always make it to church on Sunday. That’s America to me. I think you get it. I love this country.
I am so excited to take that love and give back. My favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna squeeze every bit of adventure out of life. Serving in the military is going to give me so many opportunities to use what I’ve been given, to shine my light, and just to rock on.
Tomorrow morning I’ll say farewell to the parents and drive back to Minnesota. The goodbyes are so hard, but it’s also made me feel so immensely blessed. I have so much love in my life. I’ve been sounding like a broken record lately, but truly, my friends and family are the greatest in the world. You all make me feel so full, I’m overflowing with blessings.
With all the support I’ve been given, there’s no way I’m not going to succeed at this. I’ll have so much support that I’m sure to have extra that I can pour on to my fellow soldiers and that’s pretty cool. I am now a member of the greatest team…the United States Army. HOOAH!!