Gregory veteran makes transition from Army chef to civilian

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Life after army is usually a difficult highway for veterans attempting to navigate into the civilian world.

Ashley Leiva from Gregory is a type of veterans.

Life as a trucker is an open highway as of late for Ashley Leiva. Nevertheless it wasn’t precisely the trail she thought she would ultimately take.

But, being a girl in a male-dominated discipline comes naturally for her.

Ashley served 15 years of army service as a Sergeant First Class in
Senior Culinary Administration. Her service included two fight excursions of obligation in Iraq.

Military life offered Ashley — a single mother of 5-year-old Olivia — a gradual paycheck and stability.

“I admire it,” Ashley mentioned. “It taught me a lot. to understand the little issues, I had.”

However a bump within the highway would pressure Ashley to shift gears when her mom, Noemi, handed away in February 2021.

Ashley instantly ended her army service six months earlier than she deliberate.

“She was every thing to me,” mentioned Ashley of Noemi, additionally a single mother. “There was by no means a time we have been with out as a result of she was at all times — she was at all times working.”

Noemi Leiva hoped to retire after driving for her personal trucking firm for 20 years. Whereas most cancers might have ended Noemi’s highway journey, it was simply the beginning of Ashley’s new profession.

She and her brother Johnny turned to Del Mar School. She took a class for veterans who’re altering lanes to civilian life and obtained her business driver’s license.

“She got here in with a aim and he or she fulfilled her aim, and now she’s fulfilling one in all her goals,” mentioned Juan Soto, army veteran and teacher at Del Mar School’s Transportation Coaching Companies

“I adore it. It is one thing I will do for the remainder of my life,” smiled Ashley.

Ashley is now behind the wheel of her mother’s enterprise. To honor her mother, she and her brother modified the corporate’s title from Leiva Trucking, to Noemi Trucking.

“Simply having that title stick round — it simply means quite a bit,” Ashley mentioned.

And there may be some thrilling information for Ashley: Del Mar School nominated her for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Transition Trucking Driving for Excellence Award program.

Ashley is one in all 11 and the one feminine finalist with an opportunity to win a $155,000 Kenworth T680 Subsequent Gen Truck, totally geared up rig.

Her choice was based mostly on varied standards together with a profitable transition from
army into civilian life as a truck driver, and their deal with security within the occupation.

The Transition Trucking initiative started in 2016 and is a part of the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce Basis’s Rent Our Heroes Program.

Ashley will discover out Dec. 16 if she wins.

Extra Veterans In Focus tales can be found right here, together with sources for native veterans.

Contact Veterans In Focus reporter Pat Simon at

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