ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Missouri National Guard Senior Airman Terra Waitl from the 139th Logistics Readiness Squadron's material management office was activated for food bank missions in May last year.
But she's not the only Waitl serving on COVID-19 missions. Her stepdaughter, Airman 1st Class Krysta Waitl, who is assigned to the 139th Force Support Squadron's services flight, is also activated and serving on one of the state's mass vaccination teams in Northeast Missouri.
Terra started her military career with the U.S. Navy and transferred to the Air National Guard in New York and Nevada. While in the ANG, she deployed to Kyrgyzstan. Her husband was also in the military at the time, so she made a sacrifice and decided to get out of the military.
"Since her daddy was deployed back to back at the time, we thought it would be the best for me to get out of the service since I was the only caregiver at the time," said Terra, who had an eight-year break in service then joined the Missouri ANG around the same time as Krysta. "I never would have ever thought that the two of us would don the uniform simultaneously, so that makes it all the more special."
Terra has been working with Second Harvest in St. Joseph. In the mornings, a few Airmen load a truck with produce and canned goods at the warehouse. From there, they all meet at a distribution location in Northwest Missouri. Once on-site, her team bags the food and loads it into people's cars.
"I'm excited that I'm able to help out in my community," said Terra. She said seeing the effects of the pandemic has been humbling, but she feels her team is helping people get back on their feet.
Meanwhile, in another part of the state, Krysta is helping citizens get registered to be vaccinated.
"I am honored to be on the same team and to be overall on the same mission with my kiddo," said Waitl. "She's braver than I and will do great things, as she is just starting out."