I was 17, a senior in high school in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and watching the 1995 State of the Union Address with my mom. Graduation was approaching, and I knew I was on my own to pay for college. When I heard the words, 'there are 20,000 Americans ... helping people, solving problems and, in the process, earning some money for their education. This is citizenship at its best,' I was sold. I took a leap of faith and signed up for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. We tutored, built trails, painted houses, and supported the 1996 Olympic Games. After a life-changing year as a corps member, I used my AmeriCorps education award to pay my first tuition bill at the University of Colorado and joined the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps. From Boulder to Bagram, AmeriCorps to Afghanistan, I credit every opportunity I’ve been given to my national service roots. I’m beyond proud to be both an AmeriCorps alum and an active-duty service member. It's all about service, no matter the uniform.