Sojourn Spotlight – Nancy Voegeli

nancy-vSince Veterans Day falls in the month of November, we thought it fitting to introduce you to Nancy, one of our clients at Sojourn. Nancy not only served in the United States Marine Corps, but the U.S Navy and Army as well.

Although Nancy was born in Oregon, her story begins where she grew up; North Dakota. The daughter of a Pastor, Nancy was the oldest of 5. At a very young age she started piano lessons and played often in her family’s church. In the summer of 1974, upon graduating from high school and little money for college, Nancy made the choice to join the United States Marine Corp.  She was sent to Parris Island, South Carolina for training; her first stop in her new career path.

Looking back, Nancy says she loved the Marines more than her time in both the Navy and Army. She attributes her favoritism to the Marine Corps strict code of conduct. “We were taught to be respectful and proud to be Marines,” Nancy said. The other branches were not as hard on their soldiers, mentally or physically, observed Nancy. “I was in the best shape of my life when I was a Marine,” she said. While a Marine, Nancy worked in a civilian bank with recruit accounts. She followed her clerical training throughout her career in all three branches of the armed forces.

After 10 years, Nancy was feeling a need for change which led her short pursuit in the United States Navy. “I stayed in the Navy the least amount of time possible,” stated Nancy. She preferred the stringent rules of the Marines. “I worked well with the tight rules. I never considered how different the two branches could be until I joined the Navy.”

Still wanting to serve her country after her time in the Navy, Nancy jointed the Army which brought her to Georgia. Again, Nancy noticed a difference from her time in the Marines. Nancy traveled the world while in the armed services. Whether it was Japan, Germany or South America, nothing quite compared to the experience she was about to embark on during Operation Desert Storm.

Deciding to volunteer for a job that took a group of soldiers off the base, Nancy had no idea what lay ahead. “All I remember is riding in a tank to our destination and being hit. I woke up in a hospital without most of my memory intact. The accident ended my career.”

Today, Nancy lives in an assisted living facility and attends Sojourn’s Adult Day Center program three times a week. “I love how kind everyone is at Sojourn. I’ve made wonderful friends since attending this program.” After all she has been through, Nancy says she is ever so grateful to be alive. In lieu of her adversity, she is an extremely positive person. “I am so thankful to God that I wasn’t hurt more than I was. I’m able to communicate with others and enjoy my friendships. At the end of the day that is what it’s all about.”

When being thanked for being a Veteran, Nancy is quick to pass the compliment on. “The people that need to be thanked are the combat soldiers on the front lines. They are true heroes.” When reminded that she was a valued support system to the combat soldiers, she smiles and says, “I guess I was, wasn’t I?” Thank you, Nancy – you are greatly appreciated!