This article features Shannon Ayres

Daughter of a Naval Aviator, I enlisted into active duty Air Force out of Louisville, KY in 1996, traveling the world in the back of AWACS as a radar technician. Upon completion of my enlistment, I joined the DE Air National Guard, flying in the back of C130s as an inflight medic. However, in 2002, I graduated with a bachelor’s from Wilmington University and headed off to pilot training. This time, I was flying all over the world but had a front view window.

On the first deployment to Afghanistan in 2005, a friend and C130 crew chief completed suicide. I was determined then to do what I could to help any veteran struggling or suffering in silence. I returned to Wilmington University’s graduate counseling program to work in the VA.
I have been a counselor for over a decade and enjoy welcoming home veterans in the Elkton Vet center since 2020. Coming to work here feels a little like ‘coming home’ for me as well.

Read more articles from VOM Magazine here: