You wear your service well, Dani
Veteran's Day takes on new meaning, thanks to my favorite veteran.
I’ve known a few veterans, but none like Dani.
She’s my closest friend whose service as a medic on two tours, one in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, was something I learned about the first night I met her, just a month before the pandemic began in 2020.
We stayed in touch via text during those first few months, her Big Sis check-in-on-me vibes were something I hadn’t really experienced in a friendship before. She genuinely wanted to know how I was doing from time to time, and I started getting invested in her life, too.
By July, we were eager to hang out, so we had chips and margaritas on the patio at Chuy’s.
By September, we were checking out Round Top on a little pandemic vacation at the Flophouze. That’s when I fell in love with her dog, Makeda, and our sistership began. She became part of our pod, so she was often the only person we saw for months at a time. Now, she’s become an aunt to my kids and a cheerleader for Frank and me.
A few years later, I still don’t know entirely about Dani’s military service, but as I was sitting here, soaking up the energy of this rainy Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share a little nod to a person who has taught me more about military life than just about anyone, including my own dad.
She was born in a military family, so when you ask where she grew up, her own story as a veteran is already beginning. She lived in Europe and Japan and back in Louisiana, where she was living when she enlisted in the Army after high school.
A nerdy kid with glasses, she took advantage of the opportunities the military provided to make the most of her time there, and when she left, she easily transitioned those ideas about leadership and discipline into the classroom. She was a medical education teacher before moving into the tech world this year, where this incredible ability to see situations clearly and make decisions wisely and keep large numbers of people happy without betraying herself.