“I come from a very long line of military members—my 4th great-grandfather in the Revolutionary War, a 2nd great-grandfather in the Civil War, an uncle in World War II at Iwo Jima. My Uncle Adam Tymowicz was shot down over France during World War II only to be MIA in the Korean War, and my father Thomas was in the Navy on the USS Courtney. I followed in their footsteps.
When I was in boot camp, I had a bladder and kidney infection. My company commander saw me falling behind, and she started running with me. ‘Never quit,’ she said. ‘You keep going, girl. You push and you will finish this.
Once I returned home from service overseas, I felt lost—like I had no meaning in my life. Then I discovered cycling as a way to raise money for my fellow veterans. During a 61-day ride east, I felt like I had meaning again. After that, I cycled solo 3,042 miles from San Diego to St Augustine, Florida, and raised $30,680 for my veteran brothers and sisters.
Those same words that got me through boot camp got me through this, as the have gotten me through many other challenges throughout my life.
Although I’m no longer in that Navy uniform, I still want to express my support for my fellow veterans. I feel that once you have served in uniform, you are always in uniform. You take that oath for life.
I would do it all over again if I had to, with no hesitation, just like many of my fellow veteran sisters and brothers would."