My name is Gricelda Vasquez, I am a 26 year old single mother working two jobs and am stll serving in the Army National Guard. I have a wonderful 2 year old who s the really the apple of my eye and he really is the reason why I cannot hang up the uniform even after 9 years. I love serving my country because even though it’s not my motherland, the opportunities it has given m family, my future generation to come and myself, I will forever be in debt with this beautiful nation. At age 7 I was brought from Guatemala to California where I would finally get to meet my mom after she fled from Guatemala due Poverty and Domestic Violence from my own father. Fast forward o 8 years later and I remember my first encounter with an army recruiter who tried to get me to join until I told him I was only 15. He still gave me a pamphlet and information to take home which I saved and forgot about until I was going through old files my junior year in high school. At 17, after being able to convince my parents to sign my waiver I decided to join because I knew had to find a way to pay for college and not to mention try something new. May 21, 2008 was the day I joined and looking back at it I have no regrets. Wearing this uniform has become a part of who I am.
I remember like it was yesterday when I was spending my first Christmas back in the states after deployment. I was impatient, could never stay home, I was suffering from insomnia, and got irritated pretty quickly. I remember my family members and friends looking at me like they did not know me at all. What did I do to help myself out? I surrounded myself with fellow brothers and sisters. It really does help a great deal to be surrounded, hanging out with other individuals going through the same thing you are and to let you know that are not alone. I have had the opportunity to go on one tour so far to Afghanistan in 2011-2012 where I did logistics (my MOS is 92Y). Overall I loved deployment but never knew it had affected me the way it did. I wish I’dknow about WHOA sooner but nothing gives me more pleasure than to be working for Mike helping out vets now. I’ve had to help out a few of my own battle buddies who wee suffering from PTSD and depression and I hope to be great help in the years to come to anyone needing. I would like to end this letter by extending my gratitude towards everyone who has served and is serving now. You are truly what make this nation great!