Profile of Courage Sarah Oldridge
U.S. Air Force, 2003-2009
At 18, shortly after her father suddenly passed away, Sarah joined the military, replicating the path of her siblings. Before she was deployed to Iraq, her brother tried to assure her that her home base in Balad would be safe, but her first night in Iraq was met with ongoing mortar attacks. That night she understood the real danger she was in and learned to hide her fear.
In 2009, realizing her safety and family should come first, she decided to enlist in the Reserves as a paralegal, a job that would protect her from redeployment and keep her close to her husband. To her surprise, she was soon activated for another six months, delaying college and making her transition from active duty more challenging. She began looking for a job, but found it difficult to prove her value without a degree or the job experience civilian employers demand.
Frustrated and financially strained, Sarah turned to Swords for help. Within months, her counselor found a great opportunity for her at Allied Barton where she now works as a human resources coordinator. By working closely with the staff at Swords, she is able to give back to veterans who like her, struggle to find meaningful job opportunities. Sarah has since completed her bachelor’s degree and is preparing for law school next fall.