Born and raised in Napa Valley, California, Nicole is an eight-year Army veteran who left the service in 2012.
She worked as a Communications Specialist and spent time in Germany and an extended tour in Iraq. Her family has a history of military service, her father was a Marine and two of her sisters (out of 3 brothers and 5 sisters) also served, one is a Navy veteran, the other is still active in the Navy.
One of her primary bases in Iraq was Camp Liberty, which was located at the highest point of Iraq. The base was a relay point for MEDEVAC calls. Her closest call was at Noon on Aug 15, 2007. The camp where she was stationed would have incoming fire drills at Noon on Thursdays. During the drill on that date, there actually was a mortar attack when she was walking to the BOSS Lounge (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) and the mortar attack destroyed the BOSS Lounge. “It just wasn’t there when I got there” she said.
After her time in the Sandbox, she transferred to the reserves and spent the rest of her time in Orlando and Boston. She was in Boston when the Boston Marathon Bombing happened.
After following her boyfriend to Millington, the relationship ended and she found herself alone and without support.
In 2013, the VA diagnosed her with PTSD, which built up during her service. “A little bit of Germany, a bit in Iraq and some from Boston” she said. Nicole believes she has aspects of Bipolar disorder as well. Due to her feeling really low after her breakup, Nicole reached out to the Veteran Crisis Help Line to help her get out of the situation and they helped her get into Alpha Omega, where she is half-way through the program. Nicole is very happy to be going through the Alpha Omega Veterans Services program and wishes there were more programs like this all over the country.
Nicole enjoys playing MMORPG’s and has her own YouTube channel dedicated to cooking recipes for people who have had bariatric surgery. She is going to school, getting her degree in Criminal Justice as a Forensic Computer Technician.
To help with her anxiety, Nicole has a service dog, an eight-year-old Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix she named Casey Jones. Casey is trained to help her with her anxiety and is trained as a hearing assistance dog.