Horatio Alger Success Stories
A Personal Biography of Ashlea Baker
I, Ashlea Baker was born on 17 August 1982 in San Angelo, TX, but grew up in Fort Worth. My father was an architect and my mother was a homemaker. Although money was always tight, I never remember going without necessities. One month before high school graduation, I took an oath to be the guardian of some of the greatest words ever written on paper- The Constitution of The United States of America. I saw the military as an opportunity to see the world, find excitement and serve my country. The most important reason was to secure an opportunity for more education.
In the spring of 2003, while assigned to 16th Signal Battalion, I was given orders to carry out a mission in Iraq for approximately eighteen months. I was so complacent with traveling only in the United States, the idea of going to war frightened both my family and me. In the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I realized this single mission would change my views, morals, self-discipline and personal strength forever.
My team, A74, was quickly assigned to 2/3 Calvary out of Fort Carson, Colorado. After two months of doing my duties without complaint, and earning nothing but respect and administration from those that served with me, I was promoted to Team Chief. From there I led my team of seven soldiers, six males and one female into the most memorable year of all of our lives. The only medical facilities we had were sand and creature filled tents. The medic unit was always short-handed and I volunteered every chance I had to help them out with injured and ill soldiers. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I found myself asking to be put on certain shifts so I could be assured I would have a place in the medic tent daily. Even with the unbearable climate conditions and unsafe environment, I would walk a couple of miles everyday to check on my "patients." As I was tending to an injured soldier, a Captain from the Calvary asked to speak with me. We stepped aside and he said to me, "Baker, you are the best medic I have ever seen in all my career, I just want to thank you for all you have done for my soldiers and their families." I replied, "Thank you Sir, but I am not a medic, I am commo." He responded with "Why?" That word weighed heavy on my mind for the rest of my time serving in Iraq. By the time I came home, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I feel it is my calling.
During my four years of serving in the military I received the Army Lapel Button, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. The one single thing I earned that stood out from all the rest is the ability to adapt and overcome. No matter what condition is at hand, I find a way to conquer it so I may move on to the next.
I started my education at South Plains College with a major of Pre-Nursing four months after leaving the Army. I remained focused the entire three years while taking my Pre Requisites for Covenant School of Nursing. While anticipating my acceptance to Covennant School of Nursing I took classes at Texas Tech that I felt would help with my career. My GPA is very important to me as it reflects my self-discipline and determination. I am willing to give all the time it takes in nursing school to learn everything that is taught to me thoroughly.
I am currently a single mother with a one-year-old daughter. I don't feel that she takes away from my concentration on school at all; instead I feel that she gives me the strength and drive that I need to succeed even more than before. With the little free time I have, I love to spend time with my daughter. We love to swim, go for walks, and play in the yard together.
After completing nursing school at Covenant School of Nursing, I plan to pursue my nursing career at Texas Tech University and obtain a BSN. Following my bachelor's degree, I plan to work for a few years here in Lubbock, then eventually go back to college for a MSN. It is my dream to work as a nurse right here in Lubbock Texas until I retire. The Horatio Alger Military Scholarship fund has given me the opportunity to continue my education and pursue my dreams. It is amazing the way they have showed their appreciation to our veterans.