Serving in the military is giving yourself to something greater than your own wants and needs. This selflessness protects and serves us all. And while Julia Castellano-Hoyt of San Antonio may not have served in the Women’s Army Corps since 1961, she never stopped having a heart for serving others. To Julia, military service instills a desire to give back throughout one’s life.
“I think when you are of the mind to serve, you don’t stop being of service,” says Julia. “It's a lifetime of commitment to serve. It's something that's ingrained in you your whole life.”
Her time in the military allowed her to travel across the country. Before she enlisted, Julia had never stepped foot outside of Texas. Her service took her to Alabama, South Carolina and Missouri. Seeing other parts of the country and meeting people from different backgrounds fostered a lifelong appreciation of traveling.
Julia takes pride in being a female veteran, and she believes women are just now receiving deserved recognition. When she served, women in the military could not be married or have children. Today, Julia's own granddaughter--a member of the Air Force who is married with two kids--is living proof of the strides being made for women in the military.
Women veterans are also leaders in the Lone Star State. They give a voice to women veterans, as well as those who consider enlisting.
When asked if she had any advice for young women aspiring to enlist in the military, Julia took a moment to contemplate her answer.
“Think carefully,” she said. “You’ll be making sacrifices. It is a very hard thing to do.”
The military helped shape Julia Castellano-Hoyt into the person she is today. It gave her opportunities that she would not have had otherwise. The military continues to open doors for women today. Their voices have never been louder, their contributions never so evident.
To honor Texas veterans, AARP will host a live, interactive tele-town hall on Tuesday, June 12, from 10-11am. It will delve into the services that AARP and the Texas Veterans Commission provides to Texas veterans. Visit vekeo.com/aarptexas to be a part of the conversation, and find out more about the offerings of these two organizations.
June 12 is Women's Veterans Day in Texas.