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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

From Homeless to a Bright Future

From Homeless to a Bright Future

by Annie Dockery, Harker Heights Evening Star

Sergeant Briana Harvey, a 2011 Harker Heights High School graduate recently had the chance to ask President Obama questions on Worldwide Troop Talk and take selfies with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. An amazing feat considering just four short years ago she spent her last year of High School, along with her mother and younger sister homeless and living out of their car.

“My last year of high school was rough but I endured being able to keep a smile and a positive spirit around my peers. I had experienced my parents divorcing which ultimately led to my mother, younger sister and me becoming homeless,” Briana Harvey said. “No one knew.”

Due to the circumstances, the family was forced to move out of their home.

“My mother told me to make sure that we had our stuff packed up because we had to be out of the house by a certain date,” Harvey said. “I remember the day when the Constable came and they told us that everything had to be cleared out and we weren’t quite done packing everything so we basically got all of our stuff put on the lawn, the front lawn of where we used to live.”

“We had to put our stuff in storage and all we had left to return to was our car. That’s where we stayed for the rest of my high school career. I remember getting dressed inside of our storage unit for my senior year prom,” Harvey said.

The family lived in their car and slept in hotel parking lots at night.

“My mom would let the back seat down at night to make my sister a bed while she and I slept in an upright position in the front seats. We would wake up early enough to go to the gas station and freshen up, get ready for the day. On the weekends we would go to the gym on Fort Hood. We would wash up and get ready for the day,” Harvey said.

SGT Harvey gives credit to God that they all made it through this tough time in their lives.

“Sometimes I would lay awake there after the three of us would pray together; asking God questions such as, how long will we have to be homeless to what can I do to help my mother get us out of this car,” she said.

“Even though we didn’t know how we were going to eat or how we were going to get gas in the car, God always provided a way,” Harvey said. “We always had gas and we were never hungry. God is the only reason that we made it out.”

Harvey feels that she would not be in the position that she is in now if it weren’t for what she and her family had to endure in previous years.

“It really broke my heart that it transpired. I wish that it had never happened but at the same time, I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” Harvey said.

Harvey had most of her credit hours toward an Associate’s degree by the time she graduated from high school.

“I took dual credit classes with Central Texas College in the midst of being homeless,” Harvey said. “We were still homeless when I joined the military.”

Sick and tired of being homeless, Harvey vowed that she would do her best in the Army.

“I joined the military to better myself and to help provide for my family as well,” SGT Harvey said. “To make sure we wouldn’t be living in our car anymore.”

Harvey joined the US Army National Guard in August of 2011 and she went to basic training in October.

After basic training and AIT, Harvey went on to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and there she earned a degree in French.

“I have been to Morocco where I got to interepet from English to French and vice versa,” Harvey said.

In September of this year, SGT Harvey got the opportunity to meet the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at Fort Meade, Maryland for the first World Wide Troop Talk (WWTT).

“Also, I was able to interview the President of the United States of America, my Commander in Chief,” Harvey said.

SGT Harvey asked President Obama what made him initiate MBK (My Brothers Keeper) on the 27th of February in 2014 and will he create something similar for females and what he would miss the most once he is out of the oval office.

“It was a complete honor for me to be able to interview my Commander in Chief and I am very grateful that he took the time out of his busy schedule to speak with his troops,” Harvey said. “He said tell everybody back home, ‘Hi’,” Harvey said.

SGT Harvey plans to continue her career in the military and to become a mentor to anyone going through similar adversities as she experienced.

“I just want to mentor and help them overcome any obstacle while accomplishing their life goals,” Harvey said.


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