Women of the Military

How Service Dogs Help Veterans

Episode Summary

Service dogs are an outward indication to others that the person you are talking about struggles with something. You can’t see what it is just by looking at them, but it is an external validation of the struggle happening inside of them.

Episode Notes

September 11th was a life-changing day for Danique, she went from a life without purpose to want to be a police officer. Through this decision, she ended up becoming a police officer (Master of Arms) in the Navy. She enlisted into the Navy in 2002 and went to Basic Training followed by her technical school. Her first unit was very toxic. In both leadership and the culture toward women.

Suffering an MST

She suffered an MST and when she went to report it, she was read her rights and asked questions that led her to believe that no help would come from the investigation. The toxic nature continued and eventually, she was reassigned.

Her next assignment was working to become an instructor. She suffered another MST by a member of the Army on the range She reported it again. The Army didn’t do anything and the SeaBee unit she was with did everything they could to try and resolve the case. Unfortunately, it didn’t help the problem to be resolved so she dropped from the course and was reassigned.

Medical issues end her career

Things were going well on the ship she was assigned until there was a medical issue that prevented her from being aboard the ship and she began a med board process. She started working with the security unit and overall, it was a good experience. Then the leadership changed and everything started to fall apart. She was eventually med boarded out of the Navy, but her DD-214 didn’t give her disability status.

She went back to school and applied for benefits through the VA. At school, her PTSD from toxic leadership made her struggle through her academics. Her professors encouraged her to get involved in a community. Although a veteran organization wasn’t where she wanted to go she began attending meetings and found her tribe.

Working with service dogs

She worked for various organizations and then three years ago started a non-profit, Leashes of Valor. The work they are doing to help veterans through service dogs is so important. Not only are they connecting veterans with service dogs, but she also talked about the work they are doing to change policy and the research to help make a change on the insurance side too.

If you want to learn more about Leashes of Valor visit their website: https://leashesofvalor.org or find them on social media Facebook, Instagram. Twitter

Connect with Danique:


Mentioned in this episode:

Advocacy with the Military Officer Association - Bonus episode

Ginny MST Coast Guard Survivor - Episode 18

Student Veterans of America

Check out the full transcript here.  

Thank you to my Patreon Sponsor Col Level and above:
Kevin Barba, Adriana Keefe

Thank you Patreon members for your support. Want early access to episodes, ad-free content, and one on one mentorship advice? Become a Patreon member today! Click here.   


Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman00:00

Welcome to Episode 109 of the women on the military podcast. This week. My guest is Danique Masingill. She served in the Navy and today is the president of Leashes of Valor. We talked about her difficult military experience. She suffered multiple military sexual trauma incidents. And we talked about her experience and the difficulties that she faced and the toxic leadership that prevented her from getting help from the different situations that she faced. Eventually, she left the military and she started to work in the civilian sector. But she felt that there was a need within the veteran community. And three years ago, she started a nonprofit Leashes of Valor and the work they're doing to help veterans to service dogs is so important. If you've listened to the podcast for a long time and my longtime I mean, all the way back to Episode 18. with Ginny Orrnoff, she served in the Coast Guard and experienced Military Sexual Trauma (assault), and she talked about how a service dog has helped her so much through her healing journey. And so if you want to hear more about the impact of service dogs and hear a story from another woman veteran who has a service dog, and it's making a positive impact in her life, all the way back to Episode 18 and go check it out. So this is another great interview. You're listening to season three of the woman on the military podcast Here you will find the real stories of female servicemembers. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse and Mom, I Korean women in the military podcast in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story, uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world. Keep tuned for this latest episode of Women of the Military. Danique I'm excited to have you here.

Danique Masingill  02:16

Same here. I'm really excited to finally talk to you after listening and knowing you online for so long.

Amanda Huffman02:21

As funny how the online makes it so you know, people that you haven't actually met yet, for sure. So let's start with why did you decide to join the military?

Danique Masingill  02:31

So my parents shock I showed up at home after 9/11 happened that day and decided I wanted to be a police officer, the actual law enforcement route didn't quite work out. And I came from a family of military on both sides. So the Navy was able to promise me law enforcement and that's actually how I ended up in the military is job specific.

Amanda Huffman02:53

And September 11th was a really pivotal day for you. 

Danique Masingill  02:56

Yes, it was I was a college girl living in Florida. I just graduated with an associate's degree and absolutely nothing but having fun. And, you know, it was just working an average job and the economy tanked a little. I mean, you knew it that day. But that was the first actually profound thing at you know, as our John F. Kennedy moment, I'm assuming. And it was like, oh, there's a bigger picture out there in the world way beyond, you know, Tampa and Clearwater Beach. And so that was really life changing for me, and I wanted to do something very specific.

Amanda Huffman03:29

And then maybe if it gets you there, yeah, I feel like that's what it is. To Me too. It's like the JFK moment where it's like before and after, because it was if it changed, to change my life completely, because anyone really know the military existed. And then I served it. So it really was a big change. So you wanted to be I'm thinking security forces, because that's how Air Force closet that you wanted to be a police officer. And then you got to do that in the Navy. And so how did it work? Did you get your job? And then were you in delayed entry? Or did you go right away.

Danique Masingill  04:03

I left for boot camp in March of 2002. So somewhat delayed entry, and from boot camp lift straight for master arms, which is what they call in the Navy school in Texas. So left in March left Texas sometime in July, so it was just one long continuous, being yelled at and shaping up and chipping out.

Amanda Huffman04:23

And what do you do when you're in the Navy and you're doing police work? Do you still go on ships? Or are you finally at the base or what? What was your job when you go to your first assignment?

Danique Masingill  04:34

Honestly, I think they have changed it now. But back then we had a pretty strong law enforcement capacity. So right after 9/11 we're still training a lot more. You know, traffic patrols, arrest and apprehension versus you know, the larger picture anti terrorism force protection. So it was really a mini cop school picture super troopers. That's what it felt like we ended up being almost an entire mastered arms class I got sent to weapon station Charleston, South Carolina. That's where a lot of the stuff for the invasion got shipped out of on us ns ships. And we had a break there that we had some special guests that and it was like super troopers. So we were short duty police officers that were, you know, between 18 and 22 years old, all of a sudden, the regular paycheck away from home was pretty much as wild as you can envision. So yeah, that was the first three years of being a police officer in the military was I mean, we were sure side?

Amanda Huffman05:28

And was it what you expected it to be? Or was it completely different?

Danique Masingill  05:33

So from a law enforcement standpoint, there was definitely some fun moments, some scary moments. I mean, hats off to police officers really. And from a being in a command being a woman in the military, any of those things, it was absolutely shitty, as crappy as you can experience, it definitely felt like a shit sandwich from beginning to end. But you know, I learned a lot in the end. So, you know, it really depends on your perspective, after the fact there was a lot of the chronic toxic environment, chronic sexual assaults, like multiples, made a lot of suicides on base. So as police officers, we saw a lot of other things too, people in the barracks would kill themselves. You know, it was like, 30 minutes later, you go to lunch? It's not healthy. So it's just a really wild ride. But I would call it

Amanda Huffman06:21

Yes, it sounds like a really wild ride and some really hard, hard stuff. Do you want to talk more about like any of those like heart experiences, or we can bypass it whatever you want to do.

Danique Masingill  06:37

I mean, it you know, it's three years of very convoluted stuff, I'm happy to touch on any of them, it's just some of it otherwise, could get very lengthy. There's, you know, individual assaults that happen where the chain of command and doesn't respond. So it's also happened from another person from another unit. And then also there was just toxic leadership that led to basically premeditated rape, for, you know, almost like a weird, abusive relationship. So that lasted for a long time that was senior enlisted within my chain of command, which is on enforcement. So that obviously complicated the entire reporting process. And where do you go? Who do you turn to? Because there isn't anyone, I had reported one incident to NCIS. And they read me my rights, like I was the suspect. And the only question they really wanted to know is if he was circumcised or not to testify, basically saw his dick. And so I left that and said, obviously, we're not going to get far with this kind of reporting, you know, and then add to not only the incident, but the reporting, then the add the aftermath, meaning the hazing, the lack of privacy, and then people change the narrative. So, you know, in the Navy, it's your official port, or a dike is how they used to call it, I don't know what three categories you have available now. But they usually only give you two or three to choose from, God forbid, you're just a sailor. So changing the narrative makes you more vulnerable, I was basically turned into a toxic person, you know, where it's costly to be friends with that person, because it can affect your career to just very weird ways that they can cut things apart, and separate people basically from a group. So those three years sucked. Then I went to an NCIS school for Protective Services leaving that place. There was an incident there, too. And that was involving the army instructor at the range. I reported that one as well. I was at a CBS command at the time, because we were TD, it was during Katrina, on top of that, the army didn't do anything about it, except for an investigation. But I will commend the Navy seabees unit out there really did everything in their power to do everything by the book. So considering it's basically a bunch of dudes out there who are running heavy equipment, probably the safest place I've been stationed at. So you know, there's, there's also really good people in the service. And there's also really good experiences.

Amanda Huffman09:01

Yeah. And the toxic leadership, I think, has such a big impact on the culture and like, how it trickles down. And it's like sexual assault and rape, those are part of it, but it's also the mental aspect, and then just how you treat people. And it's unfortunate, because I've heard stories like yours and the reporting and like, the lack of following the rules like you're supposed to, and it's just, it's like, why do we even have these rules in place? if no one's gonna follow them? It's so frustrating. So at least you had the seabees did what they're supposed to, and there is some good Yeah, it's really hard. Where did you go after the CVS unit.

Danique Masingill  09:43

So due to that incident at the range, I was dropped on request. So my orders got changed from Italy to the John F. Kennedy out of Florida, which was an aircraft carrier at the time. So I went to the John F. Kennedy. I got kicked off the ship after two months when they realized that my physical is Injuries limited me to an overseas medical screening, not a C to D screening. In the Navy, apparently there's two different ones. So I was relieved from the ship and had to go on my first limb do which is like med board processing, you get to six month periods usually. So that's when I started my first one. So my last year in the Navy, I was at Naval Station Mayport security.

Amanda Huffman10:23

And what's the med board process like? So, like you were assigned to the ship, and then I figured out that you're going to be on the ship. And so then they started the med board process. And then what was that, like?

Danique Masingill  10:34

I'm not sure if mine went how it's supposed to be honest. So I know people that got injured a more normal way. So I'm never processing a lot cleaner for them for me. And basically, they said you can't physically pass a screening and be on a ship, even though I was on the ship for two months. Then they give me this med board and send me to NAS Jacksonville, which is the air station where the Naval Hospital is. And that's where you basically go to work for and HR some administrative role where you hand out basketballs while you go to your medical appointments. But I was very intent at the time of trying to stay in the military and stay in my job. So I asked the security department mayport if they would take me on as an extra body. And they did. And for a while I just did my regular job. And at any schools, they would give me as long as it's within the limitations of I wasn't allowed to arm up because I was allowed to shoot on the range because I couldn't shoot from prone position. Yes, I was pretty much it. So I drove boats for them. I didn't instructor training and things like that. And then we got new security officer and more issues started. And then I had a lot of physical symptoms from mental issues at that point, to the point where I was not just on si Q, which is sticking quarters, I was actually put on convalescent leave sometimes for three months at a time. So I got pretty bad at the end. And then I adopted a retired working guy, and when he got put down. And that was basically the last straw for me. And I had such an issue with the security officer that medical basically offered to just sign me out like, I don't think you're going to handle it much longer. And they were right at the time, like I was at my breaking point. So basically failed me on my second my board and that was my mercy ticket out.

Amanda Huffman12:10

So with your first med board, you were even with all the like the first three hard years, and all the stuff that you went through, you still wanted to stay in the Navy, or that was your plan. And then and then you had another toxic leader and that got you out. But why did you still want to stay in the Navy even after going through some of those really hard things.

Danique Masingill  12:29

Because there's still too many good things. Like the balance was still there. And I glimpsed good commands, even when I got to. I mean when I was on the ship, except for the medical part, like I work for some old crotchety Senior Chief who's the biggest Equal Opportunity asset you'd ever met. But like that was exactly what I wanted. You know, I just wanted to go to work and just let me do my thing. So I think I'd seen enough glimpses of the professionalism and the community that, you know, I knew it existed, and apparently kept getting a shit sandwich. So at some point, I'm like, Yeah,

Amanda Huffman13:01

Yeah, I mean, that's encouraging that you were able to see like the good parts of the Navy, but discouraging that, so much of that parts are still still there and something that you had to deal with the you transition out through a med board, and what was that transition process? Like? You're I mean, you are struggling mentally already with your, when you got away from that toxic leader, were you able to find healing? Or what was that process? Like?

Danique Masingill  13:28

Oh, no, I mean, so at this point, I'd had close to five years of, you know, what I would call mentally abusive commands. So I was pretty low when it came to self value, I guess. So when I got out, I had 30 days to get out. They wouldn't even let me take my my leave. And I'd like overnight, I'd like 90 days on the books, you know, I was at that user lose point. So I want to be another made me sell it back all the everything that could go wrong went wrong. And then at 30 days, I add a tack class with a bunch of retiring guys. I got an administrative separation under medical conditions not warranting disability. That's what my dd 214 says, which means one day I just left face like there was no resources, there's no ID card there was like by so it was really scary to leave with nothing like your economic resources are completely cut off. You have no medical insurance, you have nothing. So I turn around and thankfully my parents were always really big on you know, use your resources. My grandfather was a voc rehab counselor after World War Two. So my dad's like, go to the VA whenever you need, like, file VA stuff, whatever VA does do it. My dad was in Vietnam and has never filed anything in his life. So I filed my VA claim it took a year through that I discovered what Voc Rehab is, I use voc rehab. At that point, I still didn't know that there was such a thing as mental health. I didn't know what MST was. PTSD wasn't a thing. So from that aspect, nothing was getting fixed. But at least I was going to school. I was engaged. So it was slowly on the up. And then my husband, you know, fast forward another years, so my husband is going to your deployment. And I moved closer to be with family because we were on the West Coast at the time, and I can't find a job. And through voc rehab, I started going to surface University. Let's fast forward to that. And that's where it really started falling apart, like the stress of academic performance. But for me the power relationship, so having to go see a professor and ask for something was a very hard thing after the relationships I've been in professionally. So going to college was where like, my PTSD started surfacing. It was my version of fireworks or vehicles backfire, you know, being invulnerable power situations and things. And that's when I started getting mental health, I had professors literally pull me aside be like, hey, you're, like falling apart. And they kept saying, you know, go find your people. And they said, eventually, I finally went to the veterans club, I didn't want to, I really didn't want anything to do with military veterans. But I went, and it was a really good turnaround. That's really how I discovered what my field of study should be. And it's okay to be a little crazy, not the only one who goes to mental health, like I was just really good to find other counterparts. And eventually, through that, I found the community that yet I got a raw deal of while I was in the military, but how other way are you going to find exclusivity in the secret club of veterans of the world. And that's really where it was, was that for me is finding community at the end. And long story short, that's how I ended up working with service dogs and continue to work in that community.

Amanda Huffman16:30

I think it's interesting that you said like, I didn't want to go there. Because even though I had a good experience in the Air Force, I like avoided the community like the plague. I was like, I don't want to be a part of it. I don't. And I really didn't have a good reason. I didn't have a good reason. Because I had an overall that experience. But I guess I felt unwelcome was like my, I felt like if I went I would be I wouldn't be welcome because I was a woman, which I find interesting, because I didn't have that issue when I was in the Air Force, but maybe somewhere in the back of my mind. And so it doesn't surprise me that you didn't want to go because you didn't have like a good experience. But I'm so glad that you were able to get connected with the veterans. And I really liked how you said the community, like the exclusive club of being a veteran, like you went through some really hard stuff. But now you have that exclusive community because the veteran community is really strong. And it seems like the people who are active and engaged in it, good people and bad people don't want to be involved because they just feel like go away. We don't like you. I don't know. But it's it is it's a really positive environment. So let's talk about like, you mentioned what you're doing today. But let's talk a little bit more about how you going to school getting help through the veteran community, and then how you made that transition to what you're doing today.

Danique Masingill  17:47

So at school, you know, I slowly dipped my toe in the water, I kind of started going to the veterans club, and through that got more involved in the aspects behind it. So the resources and that's when I really started like, oh, what's PTSD, what's MST? And I was at Syracuse, fortunately enough, and the IVMF was pretty young at the time, but they were right down the hall from us. And they were actively engaged in, you know, staying on the pulse of what's going on in the veteran community. So they sponsor us to go to Student Veterans of America. Natcon, by the way, worst hangover I've had in a long time. Absolutely, like painful. But that's how I really got involved in the policy aspect, veterans resources, alternative, you know, treatment methodologies, all the different things veterans are doing after service. So I mean, entrepreneurship, government contracting. Now, podcasting, it wasn't that big in 2010 yet, but it's just it opened a whole new world again, this exclusive club, like now when civilians hit me up, I need help finding a job. I'm like, did you serve? They're like, No, I'm like, I don't know how to help you. Like everything I do is like in my world. So it definitely opened something up that I really enjoyed. And through that, I found the nerd aspect that really spoke to my soul, which was combining the world of canine with the world of policy. So that's really been where in grad school I found my focus was I want to do something with veterans policy and veterans resources and figure out, hey, where the money goes, where it should be coming from, and how to change things collectively. And from there, I got hired at an organization in Florida, right out of college and work in their Veterans Service Dog program, did the entire application aspect, which means I've read probably close to 1000 veterans stories on why they need a service dog. So it's eye opening. And through that I got stolen to another organization in DC after a few years and got to actually work on the lobbying and policy side work with veterans administration and everybody. So it was really exciting. And then we realized that we want to grassroots more peer to peer like veterans can't be a representation of a serial number on a spreadsheet, and that's what it turned into when we were doing budgeting in DC. I was losing track of the names of who they are. And it was, it was hard to know that there's nobody at the other end of a phone line if something goes wrong. So that's really how we went back to the drawing board on how's the best way to make sure we give the best resource and, and not let people fall through the cracks. That's how, four years ago, we found the wishes of our as a service organization, first and foremost. But behind the scenes, a lot of what we do is working with policy, human resources, and also research studies really just to be able to change the entire industry, because I can only train so many dogs. But if I fix the policy and the funding, everybody will have access to it one way or another.

Amanda Huffman20:38

Yeah. And I just did an interview, and I'll link to it in the show notes with lobbyists from Malala. And she talks about like what she did, and like how she called lobbyists government liaison, because that's what they are. But like, that's a nicer way of saying it. And I was so blown away by how much work the VSOs are doing for veterans, military servicemembers, and their families and how much they need our stories, like you said, it became a bunch of numbers and not people, but they need our stories, they need our support. And it's really cool. So if you're listening, and you want to learn more about that, you can find that in the show notes. But that's really cool that you got to do that. Because like ever since that interview have been like, this is like the coolest thing ever. And I never thought anything about politics was interesting. And so that's really neat. And I really liked how you talked about how if we can change the policy, then that can help more people get access to the services they need, because you're just one person, you're one organism you can grow. But there's like only so much that you can do as one person and but if we can change the policy, we can help more people. So what are you working on right now that you're most excited about? You guys started three years ago? And like, what are you doing today that you're really excited about or you want to share with the listeners so they could hear about what's coming up.

Danique Masingill  22:01

So one of the most exciting things for me, personally, is that we started a research study on service dogs and PTSD. And that's really to eventually help the VA be set up for success. Because the current policy on the hill, both of the bills are worth over $22 million, collectively, but they're not going to solve the issue. So having a lot more research and data available is going to be a huge step for anybody getting prescriptions, but also realistically for insurance companies to be able to get on board and for them to cover this so that it's not no longer, you know, a burden that society pays and helps pay for that the government is not even covering right now. And next year, we're ramping up to four veterans per class. Currently, we're only at one per class or quadrupling the size of the program, which is definitely considering the Rona, and everything else going on. We've had actually tremendous growth and a huge influx of applicants. So to be able to grow and meet those needs is a personal accomplishment. Because I know, I know these people I've served with people like them to have to turn somebody away or tell them two or three years before I can help you is crushing.

Amanda Huffman23:10

Yeah, that makes sense that, yeah, that's exciting that you're growing, because so many businesses are struggling right now with all the restrictions. But I mean, it sort of makes sense with all the mental health stuff going on. But there'd be more people looking for resources. And that's awesome. And I think any research that's done especially around like veterans, that isn't something that's been done or touched on is something that is so important, because like you said, it affects insurance covering this, where right now No one's really covering it. And so that's, it sounds like you guys are doing a lot of cool stuff. And that's really exciting. If someone was listening and they wanted to learn more about like how to get a service dog how to get involved, or if they need help with the application process, what would you tell them to do?

Danique Masingill  23:59

Depending on their most comfortable form of communication. If you prefer social media, you can reach us on any of our social channels via dm and it's leashes Avalor we're on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all of those CDs or on the website, you can email us at warrior at leashes valor that org or go on our website and request an application. And with that, we usually actually schedule a phone call to basically talk through everything because it's kind of like match.com but with a dog, like I'm asking a lot of questions. So in case somebody has any discomfort on why I need to know those things, we're happy to talk through everything online need to know if you you know binge watch Netflix, or if you do long walks on the beach, because you need a couch potato or you need a dog that can keep up with you. But we also mailed application, we don't do digital format at all. And that is for privacy reasons. And I don't want anybody thinking about red flag loss. There's only one copy of whatever you wrote. And if you want to burn it by the time you leave with your dog, you're more than welcome to

Amanda Huffman24:59

Yeah, sounds like a really important safety precaution and something I never thought of, yes, your lifestyle would have a huge impact on what the best service dog would be. It makes so much sense. And it is it's like a personal relationship with the dog. Because I interviewed Jenny. And she had, she was assaulted in the Coast Guard, and she got a service dog and he like changed your life. And so if you want to hear a story of someone who had one, you can go back, I'll link to it in the show notes so that people can find it easily. But when she talked about her experience, I realized like how important what the work you guys are doing is and how much it's helping people and changing people's lives. And not, I think sometimes people can be like, they just don't understand it. But then when you hear a story, then everything changes.

Danique Masingill  25:44

We refer to it as a prosthetic for the brain, because a lot of people have a very hard time modifying even your empathy or your understanding or interaction with someone who has traumatic brain injury or PTSD or anything. However, if a dog was present, it immediately already alters your stance and makes that person's injury visible. So it's a validation for the person who's standing there knowing like under the skin, you know, something's wrong, but like, sounds like you're screaming on the inside, like my Now do you understand this right now. But you know, the dog helps with that representation, not only to alert to certain behaviors that, you know, are the early onset of anxiety attack, but it also shows other people within the family and in the community that, hey, this validly is something going on. This is a physical representation of something you can't see.

Amanda Huffman26:34

Yeah, that's so important. And I struggled with, well, I guess I still struggle with PTSD. But I've gotten a lot of help over the years. And one of the biggest struggles I had was, Oh, well, my situation is not that bad compared to someone else. But when you talked about like having like a dog there that like validate, that just has to bring so much healing, because I always like would second guess myself, that was like, main reason I didn't get help so long, because I was like, Oh, my life isn't that bad. And then I finally got help. And it's like, man, my life really wasn't very good compared to what it could be because I was stuck in life, those bad behaviors and the self protection that wasn't filling and avoiding all those emotions. So yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So powerful. So do you have anything else from your service or your transition that you wanted to talk about that we didn't get a chance to cover?

Danique Masingill  27:29

I mean, it really just the education part for people like if they're, if you're not using it, I'll honestly call you an idiot GI bill or collectively, any of those resources cover so many different opportunities, even for more non academic fields. That was not one of the most empowering things for me is to be able to get my education because in the end up for me, it was something I like that they can never take that away from me, like that was my freebie. I got mine at the end of this. So I really strongly recommend anybody to use the resources, it was very holistically healing in a way.

Amanda Huffman28:01

That makes sense. I still need to use my GI bill. I was waiting for my littlest one, they go to kindergarten, which is next year. Now. Now we're gonna homeschool. So I'm like, Well, I guess I just need to start looking into it. But the nice part is the GI Bill that I have is forever. So good. But I guess it's also not nice, because I can be like I have forever. But it just made sense when they're little to wait until it became more manageable with little tiny kids. I'm planning on going back to school, and I have no idea what I'm gonna do.

Danique Masingill  28:31

I mean, I don't have kids. So I'm not knocking other humans to keep alive. It's a completely different story. Don't get me wrong, like, I'm not judging on that at all.

Amanda Huffman28:41

Yeah, I'm planning on using it. It's just what am I going to do? And but it is, it's so nice to have that resource to know that I have like the ability to go to school and not have to worry about like, how am I going to pay for it. So it's definitely something that I'm excited about. And I'm excited about. I'm actually excited. I didn't get involved in like school right when I left because I don't know if I would have found Student Veterans of America. And now I know about it, and I'm going to be able to get involved in it. So so I'm excited about that opportunity when I get to be a student again. So the last thing I like to ask my guests before I close out the interview is what advice would you give to young women who are considering military service?

Danique Masingill  29:21

Oh, man, it's a tough one. always show up at the front line. Like stick with it. No grit, no Pearl, and till the end kicking and screaming.

Amanda Huffman29:31

I love that advice. always show up. Yeah, you just have to do it and stick with it. And then you get to be part of the exclusive bettering club. I'm gonna like start using that I love. I really love that.

Danique Masingill  29:43

No matter how how horrible the journey sounded like, I wouldn't be where I am today or have the amazing people in my life or do what I do. It's not a path had been any other way. So although your instinct and if that's where it takes you that's your purpose.

Amanda Huffman29:57

Yeah, that's, I love that advice. It's so good. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I really enjoyed getting a chance to talk to you and learn more about what Leisha Valley does. And I'll put links to the social media and the website in the show notes. So if people want to get involved, so thank you so much. Thank you so much. 

Danique Masingill  30:15

It was such a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Amanda Huffman30:22

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