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First Shirt has commitment to Air Force, community

Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Fuller, Civil Engineering first sergeant, poses for a portrait outside of the 434th Air Refueling Wing headquarters, June 5, 2021, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana. Fuller recently graduated from Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and was the honoree of the Chancellor Award. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt. Alexa Culbert)

Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Fuller, Civil Engineering first sergeant, poses for a portrait outside of the 434th Air Refueling Wing headquarters, June 5, 2021, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana. Fuller recently graduated from Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and was the honoree of the Chancellor Award. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt. Alexa Culbert)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Drawing on childhood experiences, one Grissom Airmen helps others.

Military life for a child can be a challenging one. Always moving, always saying goodbye and never putting down roots. This was the case for Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Fuller, Civil Engineering Squadron’s first sergeant. However, her mother softened the burden of each move by getting the family involved in the new community. This ignited a passion for helping others in Fuller that she still carries with her today as a first sergeant.

“I love making a difference in people’s lives and it wasn’t that you can’t do that as a supervisor, but I felt that this was the perfect avenue and lined up with exactly what I wanted,” she said. “I had really good mentors growing up and I always wanted to be that for someone else.”

The first sergeant’s enthusiasm for helping others transcends into her civilian life as well. When she’s not in uniform, she’s following in her mother’s footsteps and actively pursuing a degree in education.

“I see a lot of kids who come from rough home lives or they just don’t have a lot of direction or they fall into the wrong crowd, so I really just wanted to be an advocate for children and make a difference in their lives,” she said. “A lot of times, teachers see these children more than their own parents do, so this was my way that I wanted to make a mark on the world and make a difference. It just fits very well with my passions and what I want.”

Fuller attended Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, where she was the honoree of the school’s Chancellor Award, and intends to continue her education at the Indiana University in Kokomo.

Her ambition is to become a high school teacher, with a focus on sociology or another science based subject.

As she begins her new career as a teacher, she has no plans of letting the Air Force go. She said she’ll continue to serve at Grissom alongside teaching and hopes to use her military background to educate kids on different career opportunities.

“Some of these kids don’t realize that they have a future,” she said. “They’ve never been told that they are worth anything, they don’t know the opportunities that they have and they’ve never had anyone give them the motivation to become something. I think that alone is huge and I can connect the dots for those kids.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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