Go Mighty’s 31 Days of Inspiring Women, #4: Dottie Guy
Meet Dottie. She’s an Iraq War Veteran who now works for the VA as an advocate for other Veterans (particularly current era and women Veterans). Every once in a while she takes (incredible) photos. Fried chicken and potatoes are her best friends. It seems like everyone we meet, near and far, not only knows Dottie, but is her biggest fan.
Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to learn more about her story and Life List of goals.
So, Dottie, tell us a bit more about your story.
I joined the Virginia Army National Guard on a whim in 2000. I had some military ties in my family, but nothing really significant. It was something no one thought I would do. I chose the job of Military Police because I wanted a challenge (and boy, was it for me).
I finished my training in March 2001 and went back to my hometown to help my recruiter and wait tables until it was time for me to go to college.
Then September 11 happened and my world changed.
Life decided that I was going to go to Iraq in 2003, and I had to live a life where death was a part of it. Even though I was in an “undisclosed location,” tomorrow was never a guarantee. I knew it while I was there, but it didn’t really hit me until years later. As time passed by, I realized that I was not the same person that went into a war zone.
In 2011, I went to put in a disability claim in for an ankle injury that had been an issue that had been plaguing me since active duty. My claims representative kept asking me questions about my everyday life and he referred me to a counselor because he felt that I was dealing with the invisible wounds of war. He was right. I’d been a slave to PTSD, depression, and anxiety for years and I’d let it take over my life. I’d stay at home, I had panic attacks, I was a mess…I thought it was my new normal. It is a hard road, but I now know that I (and other folks that have been through abnormal traumatic experiences) don’t have to live like this. There is help.
Now, I dedicate my life to make sure Veterans get the help that they need and the benefits that they’ve earned. I want to look out for those populations that have served, but feel that they aren’t getting what they need. I want to be there to help them.
I am motivated by knowing that there are so many Veterans that don’t know what’s available to them. It’s a heartbreaking reality, but it’s hopeful knowing that there is assistance available.
Having shared what motivates you personally, do you have advice to others on how to stay motivated in achieving their goals?
My advice to anyone is be realistic. It’s good to be optimistic, but know that it’s going to be a hard climb with barriers. It sucks and there are going to be moments when quitting seems like an easy option, but if you believe that you can make a difference, you can make it through. No one ever succeeded by quitting.
Follow Dottie’s journey through completing her Life List here.
Want to make a Life List of your own? Easy—join the Go Mighty community here.