Staff Sgt. Luevinnia Miller: Grant if you can and deny if you must
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - Opposition, setbacks, hardships, through it all, Staff Sgt. Luevinnia Miller says she's handled life like a champ.

"I like to say I'm a survivor."

While most would say the odds were stacked against her, Miller was fortunate to have the seed of perseverance planted in her as a child. During her junior year of high school, the Mississippi native joined the Delayed Entry Program - also referred to as the Delayed Enlistment Program or Future Soldiers Program in the Army. The program requires individuals going into active duty in the United States Armed Forces to enlist first in the DEP before they ship out to basic training or boot camp.

"Workforce stability and career potential were my incentives. Growing up watching my mother, Ms. Luevinnia Miller go to work sick or well without any health benefits for her or us was difficult. I also witnessed the fear in my mother's eyes because she was afraid to get sick which meant missing work and that meant less money in her check," Miller said. "My mother's only concern was to provide shelter, clothing and food for her family. She had eight children and I am the youngest," said Miller.

Miller's career in the military was filled with challenges. She reached her breaking point after having suffered mentally and emotionally while deployed to Kuwait.

"For the first time in my life, I wanted to kill myself," Miller said. "I wanted this mobilization. I loved my job. Unfortunately, I began to have frequent homicidal and suicidal thoughts that killed my soul. I began to have numerous anxiety attacks," she added.

She was then assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas to recover.

"I was assigned to a psychiatrist, Capt. Lu Crawford, as well as Dr. Lisa Warren, who's been my psychologist since 2017. They genuinely cared about my behavioral health and thoroughly read my medical records and made sure I received prescribed medicine and adequate therapy," Miller said. "They saved my life and I could never repay them. My nurse case manager, social worker and my squad leader were awesome. The entire WTB team is awesome." As her emotional and physical health began to mend, Miller used her own experiences to guide her and began to focus on her future and retirement.

Equipped with a passion to help other Veterans cope with their own internal struggles and transitioning after retirement, she enrolled in The Career Skills Program Warrior Training Advancement Course (WARTAC). The program encourages wounded, ill and injured Soldiers assigned to WTBs, to capitalize on training and career building opportunities as they prepare for their transition to the civilian workforce. The Warrior Training Advancement Course enables graduates to become Veterans Affairs service representatives.

"I met a young lady whose dad was a Veteran who died before she was born and she saw how her mom struggled, so she became a Veteran Affairs representative to help others in that situation. Being an employee of the VA affords us the opportunity to take care of Soldiers. One of the most pertinent VA rules is "Grant if you can" and "deny if you must," Miller said. "No one wants to be treated like a welfare case when you have earned these benefits. My goal is to be an asset to the Veterans Affairs Department. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and that's what I give our veterans," Miller said.

To learn more about the Career Skills Program, read the STAND-TO! at https://www.army.mil/standto/2017-07-13.