Story by Annette P. Gomes on 09/13/2019Retired 1st Lt. Adriana De Hoyos: Full Circle Moment
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. It has been a banner year for retired U.S. Army 1st Lt. Adriana De Hoyos. She completed her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design at George Mason University, earned a permanent position at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and received the Judith C. Gilliom Award, an award that recognizes one's tireless work on behalf of the federal affirmative action program for people with disabilities.
"I am very honored and humbled to receive the 2019 Workforce Recruitment Program Judith C. Gilliom Award. This award could not be possible without all the people who helped me along the way; transitioning into a new career as a civilian," said De Hoyos. "I was very surprised [to win the award]. I had no idea my coworkers had nominated me until I received an email saying I won. My coworkers rushed over to my cubicle when they got the email, and explained everything. I felt so shocked and blessed, I am grateful for them."
The former Army medical-surgical registered nurse is counting her blessings since her military career ended in December of 2017. She served for five years suffering several injuries. She eventually went to recover at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. A place she says opened a window of opportunities for her, including an internship as a graphic designer within the NCIS Office of Communication, in Quantico, Virginia.
"All the programs I have been a part of from the WTB, to the internship program Operation Warfighter, to the Veteran Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Program and Veterans Affairs Non-Paid Work Experience Program, to the Workforce Recruitment Program; all have been a part of my journey and success. I would not be the Veteran and professional I am today without any of those programs," De Hoyos said.
"Adriana is a great example to others who are struggling right now with their injuries and tribulations and do not know how much a person can accomplish if given the right type of attitude, dedication, and courage, in spite of those injuries and tribulations. We are so proud of her," said Manny Febo-Colon, Transition Coordinator at the Fort Belvoir WTB.
De Hoyos has hung up her nursing hat, at least for now, and has dreams of becoming a Disney Imagineer. It is a dream she holds on to along with a guided quote by Walt Disney himself, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." That message is one she wants Soldiers to adhere to in the midst of returning to duty or transitioning to civilian life.
"I think the artistic talent was always there throughout my life, but I never thought I could make a career of art or design. It is important to go ahead and figure out what else you are good at, and do not be afraid of trying something new. It is so interesting how you can go full circle, and come back to something you love."