By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD - For Pfc. Joanna Ramos, one of the biggest lessons she can teach her children is the importance of helping others.

Ramos and her husband, Trinida, brought their three children, 9-year-old Isaiah, 7-year-old Destany and 3-year-old Trinida IV, to Fort Hood Saturday as they volunteered in support of Make a Difference Day.

Ramos is a fueler in Alpha Company, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and joined others from the company at USO Fort Hood to spruce up landscaping and organize the center.

About 20 from the company volunteered, said 1st Sgt. William Bernreuther, the Alpha Company's senior noncommissioned officer.

Ramos brought her children because she wanted them to see that helping others is a good thing, she said. Isaiah, Destany and Trinida IV see her in uniform and know she helps others. Setting that kind of an example is important to Ramos, she said. Ramos is from Hemit, Calif., and wanted a change. She considered herself more of an outdoors person - something her office job didn't allow her to take advantage of.

Her younger brother is a Marine and encouraged her to join the military. Her family was happy with the decision, she said.

Many were surprised when Ramos enlisted, she said. She joined at the age of 26 and her friends were used to seeing her work in an office.

She arrived at Fort Hood in March from Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Va.

Ramos' husband stays at home to raise their children, and his support is very important, Ramos said. They live in Copperas Cove because she wanted to leave work for the day and have a separate life, she said.

She worked for seven years in a payday loan office and last served at its manager. She was used to being the boss, she said, and it's been a switch being told what to do instead of calling the shots.

Since enlisting, Ramos said she has gained more respect for people and the military. She knew it existed before, but now she sees it in a different light and sees how hard people work.

Ramos said she's been able to better provide for her children since enlisting. The family was living paycheck to paycheck before, she said, and now she can provide them with a four-bedroom home.

Her next goal is to go to school and become a warrant officer, though she hasn't decided on what branch.

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