Quad area resident Brandy Fulton wanted to join the military after graduating from high school because she thought it would be a great opportunity to pursue her education and travel. Her 20-year military career shaped her as a person and inspired her to continue serving.
“I am very patriotic and I have a lot of love for our country, our flag, the people who served,” she said. “I get teared up any time “The Star Spangled Banner” gets played. It is a good remembrance of all the people who died for our country and what it stands for, and I really hold that dear.”
Brandy, 59, is originally from Pennsylvania, but lived in Circle Pines for 12 years before she moved to Lino Lakes in 2001. After a female recruiter from the Air Force visited her school, she knew that was the branch she wanted to be in. Brandy joined the Air Force on Dec. 7, 1979, and was on active duty for eight years. She started off her career as a dental assistant/hygienist working in a dental clinic.
While stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Brandy met her husband, Bruce, who was stationed at NORAD Combat Operations Center near Colorado Springs. Bruce was in the Air Force from 1980-1986 in fire/rescue. The two married in 1982. The Fultons were stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for three years before going to Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
While in Germany, Brandy was assigned to ATH, air transportable hospital, where with a 24-hour notice she could be sent anywhere. After eight years of active duty, she joined the Air Force Reserve, 934th Airlift Wing based out of Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1988. While in the Reserve, she got “called out” during Desert Storm. “Even though I was pregnant at the time, I still had to go on active duty at the Air Force base here. There were five or six of us that maintained the 934th while our counterparts went on active duty,” she recalled.
One of her most memorable experiences from her time in the military was her two-week mission trip to Honduras in 1992. “That was really rewarding,” Brandy said. “We went up into the mountains and veterinarians and doctors inoculated animals and people. We extracted over 300 teeth during that time frame and worked with a Honduran dentist.”
Brandy retired from the Air Force Reserve in 2000 but continues to find ways to serve and make an impact in the military community. Now that she and Bruce are empty nesters, she said she has plenty of time on her hands to dedicate to military members and their families. She joined American Legion Post 566 and serves on the Bar and Building Committee. She is also president of the Lino Lakes Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network.
“I wanted to help veterans and their families that needed services in our area. I think it is good to give back to all those veterans that have served over the years and who are serving now,” she said.
Brandy currently works for a private practice in Roseville as a treatment and financial manager. Bruce is retired from a 37-year career with the U.S. Postal Service.
This Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Brandy wants everyone to take a moment to think about what military members give up. “I don't think people realize how much people do sacrifice ... all the holidays you miss with your family,” she said.
In addition to thanking veterans for their service, Brandy encourages people to strike up a conversation with them. “It is always nice when people say thank you for your service.” Brandy explained. “People do like to talk about their time in the service.”
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.