I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1973 and served until 1981. I used my Navy service training and career field as a stepping stone for my civilian career field. I worked as a computer programmer while attending college using my GI Bill. The GI Bill paid for my education and covered an associate degree in applied science, a bachelor of science and a master's in business administration, with money left over. None of this would have been possible had I not enlisted in the Navy. I was the middle of nine children and was enrolled in a high school program called Upward Bound. Upward Bound was designed to encourage children enrolled in college prep classes, from low-income families whose parents had not attended advanced education, beyond high school to go on to college. Upward Bound opened my eyes for what one could accomplish with an education. I wanted to advance my education beyond high school, but money was not there to make it happen. I explored all the options available to someone graduating from high school and decided to enlist in the Navy, as I had an older brother who was in the Navy. He used to write and talk about his experiences and visiting different parts of the world. I was able to serve my country, I got to see the world, I got an excellent career field supporting a transition into the civilian world, and then I also had the GI Bill which paid for advanced education. Education and military service opened many doors for me in my civilian life, contributing to my successful career. I retired at 60 after having worked for private industry as a computer programmer and finally retiring from the Department of Defense. I remember President John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you; instead ask what can you do for your country” quote. It greatly influenced me from an early age. I have been retired for five years, have traveled extensively with my husband and still have the passion to give back to the greatest country in the world. I belong to The American Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), and serve on the board of commissioners for our county veterans service office. I am proof that one can come from no money, hard work and perseverance, and with an education can succeed in the United States of America.