Young vet eager to pay it forward

Young vet eager to pay it forward

Young vet eager to pay it forwardPFC Katie Edgecombe of Concord was forced to cut her military career short due to a health issue, but she’s still trying to serve her country by helping other veterans.

She’ll talk about her efforts as part of the “Young Veteran Voices” program on Veterans Day in Concord’s Willow Pass Park.

Edgecombe joined the Army at age 19 and was in the military police in Hawaii 2001-’03, preparing for service in Afghanistan or Iraq. “I trained with the Marines how to clear buildings,” she said. “I really enjoyed all of it because I really felt that it was a great cause.”

Unfortunately, the Army told her she couldn’t continue due to arthritis in her hips. She got transitioned into an administrative post, issuing weapons for her last four months.

“It was sad leaving, but I didn’t want to drag anyone down because of me not being able to do my job,” said Edgecombe, who returned to civilian life and worked in a bank and at an alarm company.

Back to school

After discovering she was eligible for veteran benefits, she went back to school two years ago. “I want to get a degree for accounting. I really enjoy inventory and auditing – and I think that’s because of the Army.”

She also got more involved with veteran organizations, including volunteering at the vet hall in downtown Concord and serving as president of the Student Veterans Alliance at Diablo Valley College.

“I’m trying to make sure people don’t go through what I did. I went for 15 years, paying for medical and dental and, in reality, I am eligible for full medical benefits and for schooling. I had no idea,” she said. “Nobody walked me to the veterans service office and told me to check in. They do that now, though.

“I’m totally trying to give back, because I couldn’t when I was in,” Edgecombe added. “Everyone I work with is so inspiring. I’m even more motivated when I leave than when I get there.”

Veterans Day Celebration

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1525 will host a program at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at Willow Pass Park, 2748 E. Olivera Road, Concord. In addition to speeches by young veterans, the Concord High Ladies First Choir will perform. The event will be followed by a softball tournament.

Honor the special veteran in your life with a personal message in the November Pioneer.

The Pioneer will publish a special section of Veteran’s Day messages in the Nov. paper and on our website. You can use your message to honor a veteran, past or present, to thank them for their service and show how proud you are. The deadline to order your Veteran’s Day message in the paper is Wednesday, Nov. 6, so don’t wait.

Click here for more information and to place your order.