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Unit: Public Health Activity Branch, Fort Bragg/Fort Lee

Place of duty: Veterinary Treatment Facility

Military occupational specialty: 68T – animal care specialist

Home: Colorado Springs, Colo.

Age: 24

Time in service: 35 months

Describe your personality: “I’m very outgoing, outspoken and confident. I can also be very thickheaded. I don’t want to say ‘My way or the highway,’ but it might be the best way to describe how I feel at times because, with my work, I like things done a certain way. If it’s not done a certain way, I can get a little tooty (urban slang for rebelliousness).”

Pastimes: “I like to spend time with my wonderful family. I have a son who is a year old. As much time as I can spend with him, I do.”

Favorite foods: “I’m on a diet right now so I can talk about food forever (laugh). I like Southern foods by far – collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread – I’m getting hungry! Oh, fried chicken, by far, is one of my favorites.”

Pet peeves: “Being micromanaged. I feel confident in the things I accomplish, and when someone is looking over my shoulder, I feel they don’t trust me enough.”

Dream car: “Dodge Charger Hellcat.”

If you could do anything, anywhere right now, what and where would that be? “I have a brand new baby niece, so I would want to go home and see her.”

When and where you were the happiest: “When I had my son. Just imagine a life growing inside of you for nine months, and all of a sudden he’s here laying on your chest. That tiny person is now your tiny person. It’s unbelievable to think, like, I was fortunate enough to bear a child.”

The historical figure or celebrity you would like to meet: “No one in particular, but probably any of the women who stood up for women’s rights.”

Greatest achievement: “I’m 24 years old, I have a successful career, beautiful family, great health – what more can you ask for?”

Favorite quote, saying or adage: “It has a bad word in it: ‘As the (expletive) deepens, I just laugh and buy higher heels.’”

Greatest fear: “Realistically, I fear death. There’s no logical reason behind it other than the fact I feel like it's so unpredictable.”

Something people would be surprised to know about you: “That I’m a lot of fun outside of work. At the end of the day, I want to make sure the mission is completed, but I always tell people Spc. Burress is different than Casey Burress.”

One life-changing event or moment: “I was in a really bad car accident when I was 19. The driver had been drinking. We were trying to make it back to our camping grounds. She drove off a cliff, and we flipped into a creek. The passenger in the front (I was in the back) passed away. It was the driver’s father. He and myself had not been drinking. I guess you feel in some sort of way that maybe we could’ve done more. We encouraged her to pull over and pay more attention. Obviously, that didn’t work, and someone had to lose their life over the situation. Looking back at that moment, it was the most serious consequence. I was lucky to walk away with my life, but it hurt. I guess the hardest part was the unknown. (Following the wreck) I crawled up an embankment soaking wet. There could’ve been no cars for hours coming down the road. Then what? Before it happened, we were so nonchalant and careless, and then when it happened, it was like, ‘That was stupid, really stupid.’ After being examined at the hospital and reunited with my friend (the driver), I think her mother said something like, ‘He lost his life so we could keep ours.’ That impacted me because it really did feel like that at the moment.”

One person you most admire: “My mom. She’s the best – my No. 1 supporter. She and my dad met in the Marine Corps. She has always been there, and is just an awesome person. After getting out of the Marines, she spent her life raising kids while my dad served his 21 years in the corps. She then went back to work and started at square one. I watched my family struggle, but my parents never let us see it.”

Why you joined the Army: “To better myself and further my career.”

Why you chose your MOS: “It was my husband – he was in the Army at the time – who encouraged me. I went in and talked to a recruiter, and he was able to get me this job. The rest is history. I always loved animals, love working with them, and I have plans to become a veterinarian.”

Describe your duties: “Here at the vet clinic, we have many responsibilities. Our main priorities are caring for the military working dogs, handling all the bite reports and caring for personally owned animals.”

What you love about your job: “Being able to provide care.”

What you don’t love about your job: “The aggression some animals display, and the fact some owners are oblivious to it.”

What you expect from leaders: “To have a backbone; to be able to speak for Soldiers who can’t necessarily speak up.”

What you expect from your peers: “To be hardworking and responsible.”

What it means to wear the uniform: “It means being committed to doing all that is required to serve the country.”

Best thing about the Army: “That I get to do what I love.”

Worst thing about the Army: “We don’t get paid overtime (laugh). If you break it down, we get paid something like $4.75 an hour.”

What your future holds: “I would like to figure out a way to become a veterinarian. If I can do that and stay in the Army, I’m going to do it.”