"The Hardest Part Is Losing Friends:" 10 Women Veterans Share Their Stories

In honor of Veteran's Day, we'd like to introduce you to ten totally amazing and inspiring women.
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Meet Joy Schoffler

Joy Schoffler“The hardest part is losing friends.”

Joy Schoffler (pictured here on the left, with a military friend), a 31-year-old mom of two (9 months and 3 years old), enlisted as a Finance Solider, then became a Finance Officer. She currently serves in the Texas State Guard as a Public Affairs Officer. Shoffler says. “I joined on August 16, 2001 (I was in boot-camp on September 11th, so I only saw one short video on the event since they monitor all media in basic training). Once I got out of basic three months later, the world had changed. I was discharged in 2006 for a back injury.

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Where did you serve? Ft Lewis, Washington

Why did you decide to join? I wanted to make sure that the men and women who did the really hard parts of the mission never worried about their pay. There are a lot of things that can’t be helped when you are in the military, but wondering if your pay is going to come through and if your family back home was being taken care of should never be a thought. I wanted to do my part.

What’s the hardest part? I think the hardest part is losing friends. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing wonderful people leave this world who only wanted to help.

What do you love most about it? I loved the friendships I made. When you are in the service, you are placed in situations that really bond you with people. One of my best friends today, who I talk with almost daily, is from my time as an E-4 in the Army. Those people really get to know you.

How does your family feel about it? My family was proud of me when I was in the service. My husband now is very supportive; he takes the kids on drill weekends and annual training.

What’s it like being a female service member? Being a woman in the service is no different than being a woman anywhere, as long as you treated yourself with respect, you were given respect back. Because our bodies are built differently, we do have to work harder in some cases (I was 5’1 trying to keep up with guys who were 6’3 on road marches wearing the same amount of gear) but that’s the way it is. If you want to serve, you have to carry your own load and keep up in life.

Is it difficult being a woman? No, it was wonderful. I came from nothing in life. Neither of my parents graduated high school and still work dead-end jobs. The military put me through college, gave me amazing job training and taught me how to work harder than I knew was possible. It gave me the foundation for a wonderful life. Because of my service, I now have a successful business, a great husband and amazing, lifelong friends.

What are some things you take with you, or do, to feel “at home” when you’re so far away from home? I love to travel! I feel most at home traveling.

Your biggest fear: That life will pass me by while I am at my desk!

What do you want most out of life? To show others that they can be anything they choose in life. It does not matter where you came from or who you are now, you can be anything you want to be in life!

What’s something you wish all Americans knew about our troops? They do not expect anything from people but they are SO grateful when people acknowledge them. The little acts of kindness that regular people show to service members gives them the pride they need to endure things most people would never willingly do. I have met some of the greatest people I have ever known in the service –they are willing to give up everything because they love their job and love their fellow soldiers!

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