NORMAN, Okla. - Since 19-year old Adrian Hinton was a little girl, she had a dream of becoming a member of the armed services. Specifically, she wanted to be a rifleman.
During a career fair at the Canadian Valley Technology Center in Chickasha, Oklahoma, she met a recruiter with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, Sgt. Heather Davis.
Initially, there was excitement in the air as they discussed the benefits of being in the military. Upon discussion of eligibility, there was one problem; Adrian has high-functioning autism with a terminal heart condition, which prevents her from joining the military. Once Davis found out, she couldn’t just let Adrian walk away. She wanted to give her something special.
Davis coordinated with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard, to give Adrian a day in the life of an Oklahoma Soldier.
“I wanted to make something happen for her, put some boots on her for a day; give her a memory to live with,” Davis said.
Davis invited Adrian to the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, to spend the day with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. She could watch Soldiers work and see the equipment they use. She sat in various military vehicles, met military leaders and received a guided tour around a Black Hawk helicopter by the crew.
“My experience with Sgt. Davis was amazing and a dream come true,” Adrian said. “If I could say anything, I would say I think I found my second family.”
Adrian was scheduled for heart surgery this week, but doctors waived that saying it was not needed at this time. In such trying times, she still holds an incomparable amount of patriotism and love for her country. Adrian may not be able to join the Army, but her "heart" for her country has made her an honorary Soldier for the day.
"To me, this country is not just about land, but the people who are in it,” Adrian said. “I would fight for all of you. If I happened to die because of my heart while in the field, that would be okay because I tried and that’s all that matters. I would have died for something I believe in and I believe in my country.”