FORT KNOX, Ky. – Her life’s work has been focused on helping people achieve financial stability. Now, Laura Willcut is sharing her expertise with the Fort Knox community.
Kristine Patrick of the Transition Assistance Program said hiring Willcut as part of their team has already made an impact.
“She’s wonderful,” said Patrick. “Soldiers come out of her office going ‘Thank you so much.’”
TAP is a program designed to aid Soldiers as they transition out of the military. What many may not realize though, is that they can always take advantage of these services.
“Retirees have TAP services for life,” said Patrick.
Willcut’s specific role in TAP is to serve as a financial counselor. Patrick said Willcut’s personalized approach is a representation of how all aspects of the program have come to work for Soldiers and Families.
“Now we really focus the program on the individual [instead of] a one size fits all, where we made everybody do the same thing,” said Patrick. “It’s changed to where we tailor it to what your goals and needs are.”
While providing financial counseling to Soldiers may be new to Willcut, she has spent years developing her skills and knowledge in money management. She recently received an award from the Internal Revenue Service for her volunteer work processing tax returns for Kentucky residents who received unemployment during COVID.
Although Willcut said she felt very honored, it was the work itself she felt most proud of.
“Recognition is nice, but that’s not what it’s about,” said Willcut. “It’s about sitting across the table from that person who is feeling afraid and helping lighten the load for them.”
Now that she has the opportunity to work directly with the military, Willcut said she feels honored in a whole new way.
“I have family that fought and died for this country,” said Willcut. “By serving Soldiers and Families, I’m honoring a piece of them every day.”
Willcut said helping people develop confidence in themselves and their financial planning abilities has become her passion. She explained her goal is to make everyone who walks into her office feel as comfortable as possible so together, they can work toward solutions that best benefit the Soldier.
“I sort of see myself as the mom,” said Willcut. “I’m genuinely interested, and want to bring people to a place where they trust themselves.”
While Willcut encouraged anyone looking for financial planning advice to visit her office, she said she truly hopes younger Soldiers will take the most advantage of her services so they might gain skills they’ll be able to use for years to come.
“I want everyone who comes in here to be able to leave knowing something they didn’t know before, something they can carry with them their whole lives; something that could make a ripple that keeps on going.
“It’s that connection with people -- to actually be able to make a difference for someone.”
Willcut has survived cancer not once, but twice. She said with all she’s overcome, her focus now is to make a difference in the world.
“I’ve led a roller coaster life at times,” said Willcut, “but I’m still here and still standing, and I wouldn’t be without so much support from even the most unexpected places at times. So much has been given to me, and I have to give that back.”