After serving in the US Air Force for 10 years, risking her life in both Iraq and Afghanistan, surviving the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon that many of her colleagues did not, Alicia Watkins’ indomitable spirit has survived the gamut of tests, including becoming homeless after it all.
In 2010, after retiring from the military, she found herself homeless, living in a car she rented for $10 a day with nothing more than a box full of snacks and a backseat and trunk full of her few belongings.
Always as selfless and giving as possible, she had become homeless after giving up her affordable housing to a single mother with three children.
Her story was so inspirational that she was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the first time that many of her friends and family members even learned of her struggle. She realized she had been alienating herself and quickly accepted a friend’s gracious offer to move in.
Yet issues including PTSD and a spinal cord injury prevented her from returning to the work force. With a safe place to live, Watkins set her sights on her education and was accepted into Harvard University in 2012. Her college expenses are covered by the GI Bill, allowing her to fully focus on her studies and finally ensuring the country pays her back for a FRACTION of what her service represents.
She recently got engaged as well and is now focusing on her 2016 graduation and career aspirations of being able to care for other wounded veterans.
For her unbreakable spirit and incomparable heart, Alicia Watkins is our #WCW.