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Hello everyone, I am your new Program and Public Relations Director at your LifeSpan Center. Now that the butterflies and jitters of starting a new job are gone, let’s talk about the whirlwind of a journey that brought my family and I back to Central Illinois.

For starters, I am originally from the big city of Paris, no I don’t personally know Bret Eldredge he was a few years younger than me, but after graduating from Paris High School in 1998 I attended Indiana State University (ISU) in Terre Haute, IN majoring in Criminology with the intention of becoming a police officer. Let’s fast forward to my graduation in 2003, I then continued working towards my Master’s at ISU. I must say that I am one of the luckiest kids with the support my parents gave me through my college days.

Let’s fast forward to April 2006, I enlist in the United States Army and head to Fort Leonard Wood, MO for Military Police One Station Unit Training. I graduate in August and head to my first duty station, Fort Campbell, KY, 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division.

For the next two years I get to actually do what I wanted to do, law enforcement. As some of you veterans may know, you may or may not get to do what you signed up for, or you do what you signed for and then find yourself with extra duties like working in the armory, motor pool, or just the daily sweeping, mopping, and waxing floors.

As you may have noticed, up until 2008 I was still single living in the barracks on Fort Campbell living the single-soldier life. Well, in February 2008, around Valentine’s Day, I am in Danville, IL where my older brother was coaching the First Baptist High School boy’s basketball team. While watching a game, there walks in my future bride (of course she did not know it at that time, but we started dating soon after). My future bride quickly learned about the military life, because I deployed to Iraq in April 2008, two months after we met. This deployment was going to be a long one, 15 months (ended up only being 13 months) , but she stayed in contact, we fell in love, and we were married in June of 2009, two months after I returned.

After we were married, I decide I want to do something different in the Army, so I go into Public Affairs. This job takes us to Camp Casey, South Korea, about an hour and a half north of Seoul, and an hour away from North and South Korea’s DMZ. There I was assigned to American Forces Network (AFN), which is the Department of Defenses’ version of Fox News or CNN, for three years. During my time in South Korea, the best part was in April 2012 when my daughter was born in Seoul.

After three years in South Korea, my family I and head to my last duty station in the Aloha state, Hawaii. From Hawaii I traveled all over the Pacific Theater, Japan, China, Philippines, Guam, Saipan, and Cambodia. During these travels in the Pacific, I photographed, captured video, and wrote stories about the great things our service members do during humanitarian missions.

That brings us to June 2017, this is when I am honorable discharged, my family and I move to Charleston, and I started working at the store support office for Rural King in Mattoon. I really enjoyed the people and working at Rural King, but I wanted to get back into public affairs/relations, which brings me to where I am now, working at your LifeSpan Center.

Now that the whirlwind of the past decade has slowed down, I can say that my first week was no where near a whirlwind. So, when you visit your LifeSpan Center in the near future for peace meal, an exercise class, to watch a movie, or for another event, I hope I get the chance to meet you.

The LifeSpan Center is located at 11021 E. County Road 800N, Charleston. The telephone number is 217-639-5150. Come join us each weekday at noon for “Lunch at LifeSpan.”

Peace Meals, sponsored by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, are served Monday through Friday at a suggested donation of $3.50. To register, reserve a lunch or learn more, call 217-345-1800.

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