Local Warrior Award Goes to Soyini Stewart, for Operation Enduring Freedom

Josh Simpson, Army Veteran and owner/CPA of Simpson & Simpson Accounting, LLC loves to give back to fellow veterans! On 5-17-19, Josh Simpson presented the Local Warrior Award to SPC Soyini Stewart – for Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, in Kosovo (OEF).

Here is her story: “While working as a nurse in the military, my job description changed dramatically during deployment. I had initially been told that this would be a “Simple peace-keeping mission”, but after witnessing the political and religious war between the Albanians and Serbians upon my arrival into Kosovo, it indicated that this wouldn’t be so simple.

Duties were as varied as driving in convoys to locate our fellow comrades and local Nationals; to having the responsibility of being the medication NCO, which posed as huge life-saving commitment; this deployment changed how I viewed life as a whole. It was mind boggling to me how the same individuals we protected ourselves from, now cooked our food.

We would get abrupt bangs on the door, notifying us of a “Mass Cal”. I never knew what I’d encounter as I ran to create a “make-shift” ICU. I had a rifle in one hand and a pistol strapped to my thigh, while caring for patients. Sometimes I would see adolescent children with assault rifles who were a threat to us, defending their beliefs.

The pre-deployment training we received was sometimes questionable, because the actual experience of deployment will challenge your moralistic views, which can result in mental scarring. There’s no time to ponder over events, or internalize situations, because everything is fast paced. At any given moment, you must be prepared to make a decision, that in most cases, not only alters the trajectory of your life- but the lives of your fellow servicemen; forever!

There was one patient that has left an eternal impression on me, whose name I cannot recall (due to ECT treatments) but he lived three days after arrival. Normally, I could utilize special solvents to help clean my uniform and boots, but this time I was inconceivably soiled when he was brought in. Although he was a Local National, his life mattered to me just as much as an American Soldier. He was the longest living patient I cared for there.

Deployment will reprogram your thoughts, revolutionize your life, confront your fears, and evoke courage and fortitude. Through this, it will enable you to have an unwavering sense of purpose which leaves you with definite grit to withstand ANYTHING!!!”