Today, we honor a very special group of Wine Guides, our veterans. They have served our country in countless ways and they bring their incredible values and skills to everything they do. Most importantly, we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms and protections that we do without these brave and special people. On Veterans Day especially, we raise a glass honoring our veterans.
We asked a few of our Wine Guide veterans what lessons they bring with them from their time in the military. Here is what they told us:
Ruby Director Ashleigh Campbell entered the Navy as commissioned officer, Ensign rank, after college. “USS New Orleans LPD 18, was under construction when I reported, and I am proudly a Plankowner, one of the members of her very first crew.” After leaving the New Orleans, Ashleigh attended Nuclear Power School and Nuclear Prototype Training in Charleston, South Carolina. During that time, Ashleigh took classes on nuclear power and received her first qualification to operate a nuclear reactor powered engine room. She went on to achieve the rank of Lieutenant and earn the title Surface Warfare Officer/Nuclear Engineering Officer.
Ashleigh has climbed the ranks at Traveling Vineyard as well. She is a Ruby Director out of New York. Ashleigh says that the life lesson she treasures most is “learning to look for people’s strengths and how their strengths can grow our team. In the Navy, I met so many people from all over the country. They all had special skills and strengths and knowledge. I learned so much from the people I served with, but the best thing I learned is how great a team is when everyone uses their strengths together. I constantly think of the African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'”
I enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in January 2011 as a 42A, Human Resource Specialist. One lesson I treasure most is being able to persevere through all obstacles I am faced withEboni Davis | One Star Leader | Chicago
Pennsylvania Wine Guide Anita Stoudt joined the Army Reserve at age 17 in 1994. “I was lucky to start training in Egypt after finishing my Advanced Individual Training in 1995. This is when I decided to go Active Duty,” she says. Anita earned two military occupational specialties (MOS) and was stationed at Ft. Hood in Texas. She says she decided to join the Army and follow in the footsteps of her grandfather who served in the Army during World War II.
“My life lesson is that you have to work hard and take pride in your work. I am a single mom from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I joined Traveling Vineyard back in February of 2020 and I have loved every moment … Thanks to all of those that have served and bless the families that lost a loved one giving the ultimate sacrifice.”
One Star Leader Susan Torres joined the US Army Reserve in 1997. She is a Sergeant First Class, E7, working as a Senior Human Resources Manager and involved in evaluations, awards, sponsorship programs, records reviews, benefits updates, and other administrative actions for 12,000 Army Reserve Soldiers. “I did many years of stateside tour of duties off and on, and learned a lot and moved up the ranks fast. I ended up liking the ‘Army life’ so much I was selected for a temporary Army civilian position as an executive assistant for a Command Executive Officer.”
Susan says her father inspired her to serve. She calls him her hero. “I have always admired his service to our country. He taught us to be patriotic, and instilled our love and sacrifice for others and our country. He is a Vietnam war veteran and Purple Heart recipient. “He doesn’t know it, but he inspired me to ‘be all I can be.'”
My time in the Navy taught me how to be a strong independent woman and how to be an expert leader, which has allowed me to take that energy and excel in my wine business and with mentoring my team.Kaitlyn Liverman | One Star Leader | Georgia
Samantha Wise first served in the Army Reserve as Construction Equipment Operator. In 2001, she traveled to South Korea for a special mission to clear land and build barracks for the troops in Camp Walker. “I joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 2005 and was a light wheel vehicle mechanic and driver. In 2008-2009, I deployed to Iraq with 6,000 other members in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Today she lives outside Philadelphia and has brought the lessons she learned in the Guard with her as a Wine Guide.
“Being in the military was the best thing I have ever done in my life. It instills in you a type of pride and honor only those who served could ever understand,” she says. “Being a part of something that is critical for our nation alongside some of the best people taught me where my own strengths and weaknesses lie, and in turn helped me to grow the skills to perform successfully.”
I learned to be a part of something much bigger than myself, to never give up, to strive to be the best version of myself, and how important it is to serve our country.Samantha Wise | Wine Guide | Pennsylvania
Maryland Director Lisa Gardner came onto the Traveling Vineyard wine scene with gusto in 2017, quickly crushing her goals. Her secret might just be her military background. Lisa served in the Air Force between 1995 and 1999. Most of that time, she was stationed in Hawaii at Hickam Air Force Base as a Signals Intelligence Analyst.
“I was the squad leader of 57 other women, so what I took away from that time, that feels like another lifetime sometimes, is that everyone’s story is different and being a leader is about patience and being willing to get down on the floor when your squad has dorm clean up and doing the work, not just standing there and delegating jobs,” she says. “It has taught me to be a better leader as a Wine Guide. Also being in intelligence my kids don’t get much by me!”
We’ve learned that these amazing entrepreneurs never quit. Thank you to all our service men and women and to those military families who back them every day. May we show our gratitude in every way possible. How are you honoring veterans this Veterans Day? Be sure and thank a veteran today! Here are some ideas.