Skip to comments.Face of Defense: Grandmother Finds Itís Never Too Late to Pursue Her Dream
Posted on 02/17/2009 3:28:22 PM PST by SandRat
| CAMP ECHO, Iraq, Feb. 17, 2009 When some people reach a certain stage in life, they may decide to set their dreams aside. But one grandmother of three decided to make her dream come true -- a quarter of a century later.
I wanted to join after high school in 1984, but I got pregnant with my first son, she said. I wanted to serve, but it was more important for me to raise my baby. I didnt want to leave him.
Enmund stayed busy raising her children and working as a cosmetologist.
But the itch to be a soldier stayed with her. Her father had been in the Army and served in Vietnam. Her sister also was in the Army. After seeing her sisters discipline and what the Army did for her, Enmund was driven to join.
At the time, she was fast approaching her 35th birthday, and she learned that the cutoff for an age waiver at that time was 35. She rushed to join.
I decided I should still join. I took the test and did everything else, but had to wait for an age waiver. The waiver didnt come in time, she said.
She said she was disappointed, but unwilling to let it keep her down. The old dream continued its whisper, leading to an impulse in July 2007 that changed her life.
I was sitting in my yard one day and a recruiter was passing by. I flagged him down, and he stopped his car and asked how he could help me. So I told him to waive the age limit so I could join the Army, Enmund said.
She said she was partly joking, partly curious. The recruiter surprised her by explaining the age limit was raised during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The problem was I wasnt in shape at that point, she said. She worked hard to get fit, and about a month after meeting the recruiter, she enlisted. She received a $20,000 bonus she hadnt known about prior to signing up.
She was grateful for the bonus, but to receive it meant she had only 10 days to prepare before she had to leave for basic training.
She said her younger son, Bhritten, was the most nervous about her joining.
He said to me, Ma, I understand youve got a dream, but tell them you cant do it anymore. Dont do this. I cant deal with you gone so long, Enmund recalled.
But Enmund was determined, though admittedly nervous. She was grateful for the support from her eldest son, Osaybeyon.
I remember he said, You can do this. Youre always taking care of everybody else. This is your dream. Dont give up on it, she said.
Enmund finished basic training and advanced individual training and was stationed at Fort Carson in March, where her younger son -- the one who did not want her to join visited her.
He told her he was proud of her, she said. He was curious and asked her about the Army, and said he was impressed by the camaraderie he saw in his mothers unit. The experience left an impression on him, and he surprised his mother by telling her that he was planning to join the Army as well.
I was so happy he wanted to join, but he told me he wanted to do something more exciting than my job. He wanted to be airborne and military police, Enmund said.
Bhritten has passed his entry test and is waiting for his friend to pass before they join together. He met with the same recruiter who helped his mother.
Now Enmund is a little jealous, she admitted with a laugh. I want to jump out of airplanes, she said.
Enmund is close to the halfway mark in a yearlong deployment. Though there are hardships, she said, she stays positive, makes the most of it and works hard.
The physical hardships and lack of amenities dont really bother her. Missing her family is the hardest part, she said.
Theyre all proud of me and support me, she said of her family. My oldest son always knew I could do it. The others thought I had forgotten how old I was, she said with a giggle.
Its very hard being away from family, she said. But these people, theyre my family too. A big family. Youve got to live it to understand it. A lot of these young soldiers, theyre just like my children away from home.
Throughout the day, some soldiers called her Ma, even those who outrank her. Many can hardly believe her age. She said she cuts many of the soldiers hair, listens to their problems and encourages them as they work and live together. She said she is proud to serve with them and proud to know them.
Yeah, my family misses me a lot, and I miss them, she said. Its worth it, though.
She said she is glad for the opportunity to serve her country, and deploying to Iraq has taught her a deeper appreciation for the way of life that America offers.
I think everybody should experience this, Enmund said of the Army and deployment. To come out here and deal with it, its something else. It helps you appreciate things more. Its spiritual.
Im here to serve my country and my family, she continued. By seeing me do this when so many people thought I couldnt, they can look to their own goals, no matter how impossible they might seem, and plant seeds for their children. You cant give up. Take the good with the bad, and do what you need to do.
From mother to grandmother to soldier, Enmund fought to make her dream come true. I dont regret my decision at all, she said. Im living my dream
(Army Sgt. Rodney Foliente serves in the 4th Infantry Divisions 2nd Brigade Combat Team.)
Multinational Corps Iraq
Whoa! Good for her. Stay safe, Ma.
Well alrighty then...Way to go!
21+21 = 42....What are the “volumes” saying....
And they jumped on Sarah Palin for her kids' names.
That was a beautiful story. Thanks for posting!
My grandfather re-enlisted in the Navy in WWII. He was in his 40s. Was the oldest swab on deck: the USN BOYD, a destroyer in the South Pacific.
I salute the woman. Sidebar, however. How many fathers are involved here? Sorry for asking.