By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
Veteran Melanie Thompson is thankful for what the U.S. Navy saw in her and says her military service changed her life.
Thompson, the youngest of four children, was born in Maryland. Her family moved back to Grant Town, where her parents were from, when she was about 12 years old. She graduated from Fairview High School at the age of 16 as a junior.
Her graduation present was to go to California to stay with her sister, Valerie Nine, who now resides in Rock Lake, for the summer. Thompson said she enjoyed the beaches and experienced some freedom while she was there.
She returned to West Virginia, began classes at Fairmont State, and then winter hit.
Thompson was just out of high school and couldn’t decide what she wanted to do with her life. Her other sister, the late Debbie Nine, was also living in the area at the time, and they started talking about wanting to go somewhere warm.
“So we decided to join the service together,” Thompson said.
They joined the Navy in 1977, when Thompson was 17 years old and Debbie was 24, which was the age limit. They went to Orlando, Fla., and then were both stationed in San Diego, Calif.
“I was lucky enough to have somebody with me when I went in,” Thompson said. “I think that helped a lot with homesickness, just the trials and tribulations.”
While in the military, Thompson worked in accounting offices, mostly helping civilians. She said she found something she was interested in and this set her career path.