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The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
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May 31, 2012     The Adams County Record
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May 31, 2012
 

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Page 8 Wednesday, May 30, 2012 The Adams County Record Community Spotlight Brenda Howard of Council, Army veteran, encourages young people to seriously consider the armed services. She grew up with an army father, spending 9 years of her childhood in Germany and France before returning to Arkansas. As a child she loved tap, ballet, piano, hula dancing and cheerleading. Her mom made her costumes. Her parents encouraged her. "You can do anything you want to do;' they declared. Her creativity helped her train animals for a zoo IQ project in Hot Springs during high school. Using positive reinforcement, she taught animals to talk, count, dunk balls in a basket, and generally amaze audiences with their tricks. After starting nursing school, a small raise in her part time employment salary lost her Pell Grant for college. She thought it through and joined the army. Being female didn't buy her any special favors in boot camp. She climbed the wooden towers, ran the obstacle courses, and jumped freefall just like the guys. "Anytime you could show up a guy, that was great;' she laughed. "If you carried your weight and did your job you earned the respect of the men:' The training and discipline challenged her, "but knowing you aren't alone makes you stronger" she remembered. She praised the encouragement, teamwork and fun among Brenda Howard her fellow soldiers. As an army administration specialist she learned lifetime organizational skills. Best of all, she met her husband, Jeff, in the barracks next door. "It was love at first sight;' she sighed. Jeff was a terrible practical joker. One day during his inspection of the bathrooms, he snuck a glob of peanut butter on his finger as he ran it around the toilets, then licked it in front of the new recruits, complaining about the nasty gunk they'd left on the bowl. "They almost lost their cookies;' Brenda laughed. She returned to school after the service, using her GI benefits to obtain a paralegal  degree, and made a good living. She and Jeff retired to Council 7 years ago. Her son, Justin, is in the army now, stationed in Yakima, Washington. Brenda says she keeps a low profile in Council, but she works side by side with ]eft on community events like the Biker Rodeo. She serves tirelessly at American Legion functions including the Poppy Campaign, transporting veterans for medical appointments, Brenda Howard & Carrie Pedreira A salute to our woman veterans Flag Raising ceremonies, and decorating gravesites with American Flags on Memorial Day. She also loves to work With young horses. After a bad fall at 17, it took her years to regain her confidence. With Shelton Quarterhorses nearby, she started socialization and halter training with their new foals using techniques she had learned in the zoo program. She enjoys the challenge of the foals' curious minds; they benefit with better people skills. She's overcome her fear of riding, and also takes 1000's of horse photographs. "I'm on an equine journey;' she confessed. She encourages young people to look at their options in the armed services. "Go to www.salary. com" she said, "and see what the civilian market pays when you have the training:' She wants to pass this message on, particularly to young women. "The Army gave me a place to live, food to eat, trained me and paid me a salary. Going into the military meant that I had to delay the start of a family, a very important aspect of life for every woman, but by joining the Army first, I was able to be a better person, mother and wife. If you are not sure what to do after high school, consider a tour of duty in the military. It offers a life experience that you'll never forget:' Carrie Pedreira Carrie Pedreira is all she said, "self reliance, about duty, honor and discipline, so many skills" country. She's the adjutant She excelled at many for the American Legion, facets of her job, including the volunteer coordinator crime scene investigation. who orgamzes their She and her husband, communications, sets up Paul, moved to Indian color guards at the vets' Valley 7 years ago, and she funerals and generally immediately looked up keeps their necessary the area American Legion. information She's a defender of, and a strong advocate for, the hometown heroes. "It's not just about the community, it's about the old WWII vets who are not doing so well anymore and need assistance. It's about the kids -coming home from Iraq. We have more vets in this town than people realize, and we can't do enough for them" she affirmed. She grew up in Utah and California, and has always felt driven to accomplish. She entered the service because it made sens'e economically, and because she wanted a career in law enforcement. She worked as an MP (military police) in the army from 1983-1986. The skills she gained and her veteran's experience led to her successful law enforcement employment. "Absolutely everything you learn in the military applies to civilian tife;' flowing. "The military becomes a family no matter where you are;' she said. She met Brenda Howard at an American Legion function, Carrie and her horse, Susie. and they've been good friends since, sharing their love of horses. Carrie uses her self reliance and resilience to keep going despite her painful back injury. She loves starting garden seedlings of every variety in the winter. Her kitchen is a jungle, and her dining room is a greenhouse. Every spring she helps supply the sale plants for her mother-in-law, Carol Chapman, at the Pickett Fence Garden Shop in By Deb Wilson Council. Her friends and charities benefit from her generosity and hand crafted works of art... intricately carved wood signs, and beautiful quilts. Her carved farm boy sign welcomes shoppers in the Council Thrifty Store. Feeling busy, giving back, and creating gifts help her focus away from the pain. Her sense of adventure and can-do attitude led her to horse ownership despite her injury, and she rides her beloved horse Suzie. She has 3 horses altogether, although she'll tell you, "My 3 horses have me. I'm the resident groom:' Carrie doesn't 1 i k e attention or being the focus of this interview, but she's doing it for the vets and the future vets here. Like Brenda, she encourages young people to give back to their country and gain the life long camaraderie and the skills and benefits the service provides. Idaho boasts a history of about 10,800 women veterans. Currently women comprise about 15% of both active duty and reserves in the US armed services. 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