Update (3/19): The video team came out to Nevada and spent a day with Sharon to put her story on film Watch it here:
As we celebrate African-American history month, we’d like to introduce you to one of our heroes—Sharon Potter. Injured in Iraq in 2004 when her vehicle was struck by an explosive device, Sharon went on to become the first female from Nevada to be awarded a Purple Heart. Sharon's service to her community and her country are just a small part of what makes her so special to us..
I wanted to join the service right out of high school, but instead I enlisted later than most. After my daughters were born, I served in the Army National Guard here in Nevada and then I re-enlisted in 2000. A year later 9/11 happened and soon after, my Guard unit was deployed to Iraq.
Iraq was difficult; cement brick buildings in a 130 degree heat, bats, camel spiders, and of course, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). But through it all, I always thought we were doing a good thing. I’m not sure it all caught up with me until we were heading home.
It’s a moment I’ll never forget, we were waiting to catch our transport plane to Kuwait in an airport hangar and we saw on the news that one of our planes had gone down earlier. Eventually the pilot of the plane we’d been waiting for came in to talk to us.
He said our plane was ready to go, but if we wanted to, we could choose to wait for the next one.
At first we didn’t understand. We’d been ordered home; this was our plane and we were supposed to be on it.
As tactfully as he could, the pilot tried to rephrase the choice we were being offered, but the reason we had a chance to take another plane was because the remains of the soldiers from the plane we’d heard about on TV were now on board our flight.
We chose to fly to Kuwait in silence alongside seven of our brothers who had the flag of the United States draped over their green body bags.
In that moment all I could think of were the families of those who’d just lost someone—and how young those kids were.
Once I returned home, I decided I had to get involved. I retired from the service in 2004 and ever since I’ve been an advocate for veterans’ benefits here in Nevada. We’re the ones who sign on the dotted line with our lives and no veteran, no matter who they are, should have to come home and fight for their benefits too.
This is just one reason I’m such a strong supporter of President Obama. He’s taken good care of us and fought for veterans every step of the way even going back to his time in the Senate. And to watch him end the war in Iraq just as he said he would, I was almost speechless. I’m just overjoyed.
I’m a veteran, a mother of three, and an American. And I can tell you that President Obama has kept his promises to me. I was proud to serve my country, I’m proud to advocate for the benefits of all veterans and I’m proud to stand with President Obama as our commander in chief.
I’m volunteering to help the campaign to give President Obama another four years to continue his commitment to our veterans and all Americans—and I’d love to count on you to join me.
To work alongside talented volunteers like Sharron, come into any of our offices in the state of Nevada.