Born: October 22,1981 to Gretchen and Jerry Cartwright
I grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Vallejo, California. I went to Beverly Hills Elementary School and graduated from Peoples High School. I was raised by my grandparents and I lost my grandmother to cancer in 1991 and lost my mother in 1996 who was killed in a tragic car accident.
At the age of 20, after having three dead-end jobs and having the fear of never accomplishing anything, I decided to join the military. I woke up on September 11, 2001 and saw the devastation and decided that I would not stand by and worry, but that I would stand up and fight. I knew that I would be able to defend my country and make my mom and grandmother proud had they still been alive. I joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Afterwards I went to A.I.T. at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and finally to my first duty station, Fort Carson, Colorado. In April 2003, I was deployed in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Infantry Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from May 2003 to April 2004. After serving 3 years, I ended my contract on May 26, 2005.
Since the end of my service, I have struggled to hold a job and maintain a place to live. I have had a difficult time adjusting to civilian life because of my P.T.S.D. and consequently, I have been homeless 4 or more times and fired from many jobs.
Recently, I found a strong bond with a close friend and she and I are now dating and my life seems like it is starting to come together. In addition, I have found great employment with Handmade By Heroes, which has not only given me the finances to support my new family, but has also extended my family with the amazing vets and staff that work there.
Handmade By Heroes have extended their arms and have helped everyone of us as if we were their family. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work for them.