TEMPLE — The military roots run deep in Juanita Workman’s family.
Her father served during World War I. One of her brothers was in the 82nd Airborne Division, and soared into Nazi-controlled Europe on a glider during World War II.
Her husband, a former Army tanker, once boarded a boat destined for Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis only to be called back at the last minute. Her son-in-law served in Desert Storm, and then later in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In fact, Workman, 77, has family members who served during just about every American conflict going back nearly 100 years. Whether fighting Germans in the French countryside or the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan, Workman’s family has been a part of it.
“I’m very proud of my family,” she said. “We have always been patriotic on the military side.”
While she is not a veteran herself, the military is in her blood. There is a strong tradition of military service in her family that started with her father and carried down to her “children and grandchildren,” Workman said. More than 20 members of her family have signed up, either in the Army, Air Force or Navy, since her father got out of the Army in 1919.
Workman married an Army first sergeant who retired out of Fort Hood in 1982. Her husband, Thomas, is dead, but Workman still works closely with veterans, particularly in Copperas Cove, where the couple lived for many years following the Army.
She’s a member of the VFW Auxiliary chapter in Copperas Cove, where she handles the club’s planning. She is also president of the Texas VFW’s District 14, which includes Central Texas, and is a past VFW state president. Her service in the VFW dates back 31 years.
Helping veterans is near and dear to her heart.
“I try to do what I can to help them,” she said. “For what they’ve done, we should be dedicated to help them.”
Workman moved to Temple two years ago but still maintains a close relationship with veterans and community events in Copperas Cove. On Saturday, she helped set up an inspection of the auxiliary’s junior girls unit, and on Sunday she was at a veterans group meeting in Cove.
Today, Workman will be riding among veterans in the Veterans Day parade in Copperas Cove. And for Workman’s family, Veterans Day takes an extra special meaning.
“It means a lot to us — for me and my family,” she said, adding she’s “very thankful that they’ve been able to keep the freedom that we have today.”
Contact Jacob Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468