Paula Merns, of New Brighton, Minn., on watching the promise of retirement in the private sector crumble, and how that has prompted her to re-enlist again and again in the National Guard. Now 41, she was 18 when she joined the Guard, and has served in Iraq. (1.24.2011. Interviewed by Jeff Severns Guntzel.)
“When you first come into the military, if you’re enlisted, you’re in for 6 or 8 years and then you’re out — unless you decide to go back in. I’ve decided to go back in multiple times. Every time, part of my reasoning has been, ‘I will get benefits for this. I will get something in return. I will get promises from the government for giving them my life.’”
More from Merns here, answering the question, “What are the shoulds in your life?”
Special thanks to David Pajo for letting us use his song, “Pink Holler,” from the album Live From A Shark Cage.