FORT STEWART, Ga. - When faced with adversity, Warrant Officer Regina M. Crump, a human resources technician and equal opportunity advisor assigned to 3rd Infantry Division Artillery, has never let the color of one's appearance define who they are.
Crump grew up on the northwest side of Detroit, Michigan, in a Christian household with her father. She attended grade school outside of the city where there were predominantly Caucasian students and not much diversity.
"My father was born and raised in a time where everything was segregated," Crump said. "He made sure I had the advantage he did not have - being integrated in a school system that was not predominantly black."
Although Crump was grateful for having the opportunity to go to a school that accepted all nationalities, something didn't feel right about where she was.
"When I was in the 3rd grade, a boy came up to me and called me the 'n word'," Crump said. "I know I shouldn't have been hurt but I was. I told my father what happened as soon as I got home and he said, 'Now you see that sometimes not everyone is going to be the way we are. Speak up without stooping to their level. You just need to continue to treat people right.'"
After that day, Crump questioned her appearance and asked to be switched to a different school.
"I started having some self-confidence issues with being dark-skinned," Crump said. "I remember looking in the mirror because I thought I wasn't pretty enough or that my skin was too dark for me. That's when I begged my dad to allow me to go to a school where there were more people like me. He agreed to let me go to school in the city as long as I maintained my grades and stayed out of trouble."
Crump said that the two different atmospheres made her capable of sitting in the middle of the spectrum and look at both ends with an open mind.
After high school, Crump began to look at joining the United States military. She weighed all her options and decided she wanted to join the Navy.
"I was about to join the Navy but when I talked to my dad about it, he said that the military was no place for a female," Crump said. "I didn't join because my dad said no. Instead, I went to college to get a degree in psychology."
Crump attended a college in Detroit and towards the end of her degree, she discovered her purpose in life.
"When I was 23, I was going to school for behavioral health and I realized my purpose in life is to help others," Crump said. "It didn't matter where they were from, what they looked like or what they liked, I wanted to help."
Crump used her new found passion and began volunteering at homeless shelters, girl's homes and the Special Olympics in every state she went to. She wanted to help at a greater capacity so when she was 33, she joined the Army to serve her country.
"I called myself a young Soldier, but an old lady because even though I was a lot older than most of the people I went to basic and advanced individual training with, I was still new to the Army and did not know what to expect," Crump said. "The military is so diverse and accepting. If I chose to not tell my dad, I would've joined a long time ago."
Crump feels she learned a lot about how to treat others from being a Girl Scout so when she came into the military, she applied the Girl Scout laws to her everyday life.
"I promise to be honest, to be fair and to help when I am needed," Crump said. "This allowed me to take off the color glasses and see no color, just treat people according to humanity and the way you want to be treated."
Crump's life experiences and the way she treated others made it easy for her to bond with many people on different levels in the military.
"I used to get along with my superiors really well while I was a specialist and below," Crump said. "I was in my 30's so I had a lot of real world experience. That made conversation with high ranking personnel easier because we could relate to the same situations. People on the outside saw it as inappropriate because I would talk to officers like they were my friend. Many others saw it as me being personable."
Ophelia Rodriguez, an annual giving specialist at the Hospice Savannah Foundation in Savannah, Ga., and retired veteran, said Crump has never met a stranger. She's kind, friendly and super easy to talk to. She has a really bubbly and upbeat personality which is why many people stick to her.
Since enlisting, Crump has continued to volunteer at as many community and military outreach programs as she can anywhere she goes.
"Regina does a lot of volunteer work for the less fortunate because she realizes that what she has and what she does is not by fate," Rodriguez said. "It's about hard work and about a support system she has from family and friends and not everyone has that. She tries to be that for the people that don't have that."
Crump said there's no right or wrong way in life. It's all about what you believe and that becomes your truth. Just because that's your truth doesn't mean it is someone else's truth. You have to be able to see the difference in order to deal with adversity and meet in the middle.