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Airmen share vulnerabilities to inspire others

U.S. Air Force Airmen who shared their stories in the Owning Your Story seminar pose for a photo July 10, 2019 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

U.S. Air Force Airmen who shared their stories in the Owning Your Story seminar pose for a photo July 10, 2019 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The seminar encourages Airmen to share their stories on how they have been resilient and overcame the odds regardless of adversity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
The first ever “Owning Your Story” seminar took place at Joint Base Langley-Eustis July 10, 2019.

The seminar encourages Airmen to share their stories on how they have been resilient and overcame the odds regardless of adversity. 

“Owning your story is meant to inspire, instill, and rebuild the next generation of leaders to come and do things better the second time around,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Hardaway, OYS coordinator. 

Some of the stories shared involved racism in the workplace, suicide, substance abuse and restoring faith in the Air Force. The topics are based on the most vulnerable time for Airmen and what they did in order to overcome obstacles.

“They didn’t give up,” said Hardaway. “They utilized the resources around them, clinched onto their faith, reached out to mentors, changed the narrative surrounding them and overcame their circumstances.”

Master Sgt. Melanie McKinney, 440th Supply Chain Operations Squadron, allowance source code management flight superintendent, gave her story on the struggle she faced while promotion testing for Tech. Sgt. 

“Sharing my story is enlightening,” said McKinney. “It’s almost like it takes weight off your shoulders. Your story is not just for you, it’s for everybody.”

One of the lessons learned during the seminar was to share the vulnerabilities in order to help other Airmen going through the same situation. 
“It’s vital for our Airmen to know they are not alone,” said Hardaway.

The seminars are scheduled to continue every quarter. They are hosted by Hardaway through the Langley 5/6, and cover various topics. For more information on how to participate in the seminar, please contact Tech. Sgt. Hardaway at 757-764-7764.