#PeopleofNEI: Erika, reflecting on Memorial Day

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI

This week's feature:

Erika, is a Deputy G1 in the Army and has been serving for over five years. Born and raised in northeast Indiana, she is following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, grandfather, uncle, brother, and cousins when she enlisted. Memorial Day holds a special place in her heart after losing her cousin who was in the Air Force. “I wanted to join since I was in middle school. I finished college and enlisted a few months later. I was recently in Kuwait for nine months. We had different teams in Iraq, Jordan, and Qatar. We were responsible for running the Theater Gateway for Central Command. Kuwait was the most mentally challenging and hardest experience I have ever had but it was also the best experience I have ever had. It pushed me to my limit beyond where I thought I could go. The military has become great at training fellow soldiers to help each other out. I reached out to soldiers back home so that we could FaceTime during hard days. Before I served, I didn’t quite understand the purpose of Memorial Day even though I had family that had served. When my cousin (who was in the Air Force) committed suicide, Memorial Day started to mean something different especially since I have spent time in the Army. On Memorial Day, I think about him more than anything else. I see it as a day for me to process his loss more. I wish so badly that I could have been there and helped him with his struggles now that I know what it is like and have been through deployment. The good thing is that it is definitely more open in the military now. There is more training to be able to talk to someone. Memorial Day gives me a time to reflect. Leaving the country and serving in places like Kuwait makes you realize how lucky we are to be born Americans, especially in northeast Indiana. I love it here. It’s our own little paradise and I’m happy to be home.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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