Veteran Rhonda Townsend said her career in the Army was pretty straight-forward, not really very interesting.
Originally from Philadelphia, Townsend joined the Army right out of high school. “My father was in the military. His father was in the military.” She was not even 18 when she found herself in basic training. “I celebrated my 18th birthday in basic training.”
Basic training was in Fort Jackson, S.C. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to college yet, and I didn’t want to just go get an end of the road job, stupid little jobs, so I decided to go into the military until I figured it out.”
Townsend was in the personnel department, “pushing paperwork around, filing, stuff like that. It was a clerk type job.” She spent three years in Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana. This base is closed now.
“I didn’t go out of the country or meet anyone interesting. My military career was really kind of boring.”
After her discharge, Townsend worked in a bank in several different departments, loans, adjustments, etc. After that, she did other jobs until moving to Florida and going to school to become an LPN.
Herr first job as a nurse was at Okeechobee Correctional Institute. Later she worked for the Florida Community Health Center in Indiantown and then home healthcare. “I just happened to fall into the job at the VA in Okeechobee. I ran into Tom Pasquarella, and he told me they needed help there.” She was there for six years before moving to Philadelphia for a few years.
After she returned to Okeechobee, she went to work for the CBAC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic) in Vero Beach.
A breast cancer survivor, Townsend was diagnosed with a stage 3C very aggressive moving type cancer in 2013.
Townsend has two sons and one grandchild, a little girl. She is happy to be living near them again and enjoys spending as much time as possible with her grandbabies. A biker, Townsend also enjoys mudding and visiting the flea market when she is not working.