When life is good, it is very good. For Anna Hamman life is very, very good right about now. Anna is the current recipient of the Betty Thomas and Mary Thomas Herrington Memorial Nursing Scholarship and is completing her first semester in Northwest Florida State College's Nursing Program. With one semester almost under her belt, an encouraging family in her corner, a goal in sight, and future plans firmly tucked away, she's experiencing the life she always wanted.
As a young girl growing up in Louisville, Ky, Anna always had a yearning to help people, always wanting to do what she could to make things better. As a high school senior, she also yearned to go away to school and to experience life beyond her family borders. In an effort to experience college away from Louisville, she approached an ROTC recruiter about the options available to her through the military. Seeing the quality of the person sitting before him, the recruiter told her about an option she hadn't even considered when he said she was an ideal candidate for one of the military Academies.
Her father took her on a tour of all the academies and with her parents' blessings. Anna applied to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and was selected to become a member of the Class of 2003. During her time at the academy, she majored in Military History and was an intercollegiate member of the USAFA Swimming Team. Several of her friends were planning to attend medical school after graduation and encouraged her to do the same. However, she pushed that thought to the back of her head and left for Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas for initial training as an Intelligence Officer. When the training was completed, she was assigned to the 720th Special Tactics Group at Hurlburt Field, and she eventually became the USSOCOM Production and Imagery Collection Manager at the Special Operations Forces Planning, Rehearsal, and Exercise Preparation Facility (SOFPREP) specializing in Geospatial Intelligence.
Along the way, she married husband, James, a fellow AF Academy graduate who flies AC-130 Gunships out of Hurlburt Field, and gave birth to two sons, Jackson, 6, and Jeffrey, 3. But that nursing seed planted long ago was germinating and causing her to take a second look at her career choice and what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. So, after six years as an Air Force officer and four years as a member of the Civil Service, she took a leap of faith and applied to NWFSC's Nursing School. "I just couldn't get nursing out of my head; it kept tugging at me, and I knew what I had to do," she said. "When we do our clinical rotations in the local hospitals, I feel as if I'm in my element, as if this is where I was always supposed to be – helping people firsthand."
When she walks across the stage as a Registered Nurse in 2015, Anna plans to work locally while pursuing her BSN degree at NWFSC, with hopes to eventually become a Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist (CRNA). She and her husband have also talked about life far into the future, when the boys are in college or no longer at home. "Africa Mercy is a ministry that we would both like to serve. The medical/surgical ship removes facial tumors, repairs clefts, restores sight to the blind and repairs club feet and twisted limbs of children. I would like to serve on the medical team, and James, an engineer by trade, would be working on the mechanical side of things. It's a dream for both of us."
Anna doesn't let grass grow under her feet. A list of her accomplishments also includes a private pilot's license and ownership of Sunshine Sprouts, a small business that specializes in growing fresh, organic wheatgrass and sprouts for the local juice bars and health food stores. Holistic nutrition is another passion which she hopes to further cultivate as a nurse. But with a dream in her back pocket, a full life as a wife, mother, small business owner, and nursing student, it does appear that life is, indeed, very, very good.