HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — We hear from one Veteran who balanced being a mother and wife while serving in three combat tours as part of FOX54's Honoring Veterans week.
Meet retired Master Sergeant Julia Chambers who, after serving, found her purpose in helping fellow veterans.
"The patriarch of our family, he's a veteran. That's my dad. He's been deceased for some years now. But he served in WWII in Normandy. And it seemed like my family, especially the three oldest we had, that desire to serve in the military."
Julia Chambers grew up in a small town in Maryland and always had dreams of serving in the military, taking after her family.
Fast forward to present day, she's a retired Master Sergeant for the U.S. Army who served in three combat tours.
"I served in Desert Storm on the cleanup portion, and I served in Iraq during the Ground War. And I also served in Somalia."
During her three tours she had different roles, supported the front lines, ensuring the supply chain was moving effectively for all combat soldiers, while managing the safety of her platoon.
"I took care of all of my soldiers and all my soldiers came back home as a platoon. So what I say my proudest moment would be is taking care of my soldiers, showing that leadership and coming back, all of us coming back safe."
But one thing that always kept her going during her six to seven month deployments, was her family.
"Every time that I came back from deployment, my family was there."
As her family has always been there to support her during her deployment, she worked hard to ensure she could be there to support them.
"When you have a family or you have children, it sheds a different light…because you want to be a good mother, you want to be a good wife, but sometimes you're not there to do that. And so in that aspect, it can be challenging."
She officially retired from her service in 2004 after coming back from Iraq, and it allowed her to spend more time with her children as they grew into young adults.
After her last child left for college, Chambers felt the empty nest and welcomed a new opportunity.
"I was a contractor in Afghanistan. And so it was rewarding. It had its moments, don't get me wrong, but it was rewarding because it allowed me to do other things on the financial side for my daughter's college."
She decided that when the contract was up in Afghanistan she would return to the U.S. and finish her degree in Business Administration.
"I think that's when doors start to really open for me towards opportunities for full employment."
But it wasn't about the money for Chambers, it was about finding her purpose.
Three years ago she came to 'Still Serving Veterans' looking for a career and hasn't left since.
"I came over here one day and it was a counselor and we were talking and he was saying, 'well, what do you want to do?' And I said, 'oh, I love helping people because I really do.' He said, 'you know what there's a position coming open? Would you like to apply for it?' And I said, 'yeah' so I went and applied for an interview and I got the job."
After taking off the uniform some years ago, Chambers can now say she's found the job she's meant to do.
"I just love helping Veterans, the thing that I love is the interaction because it's something about veterans, you know, veterans know veterans and we can talk and we can open up and we can relate on a lot of different issues"
She added, "as a Career Counselor, I get to help them with their resume or Linkedin or salary negotiation or prepping for interview skills. But sometimes I get Veterans that will call and come in and just want to sit and talk to a Veteran."