16a“Today is my third anniversary,” Chelsea Perkins exclaims as she jumps a little in her seat. “Sorry I kind of yelled that.”

She laughs but the smile across her face does not fade. Andre, Chelsea’s husband, is the one, she says, who balances her out.

“I can be very high-strung.”

Chelsea sits back into the chair and relaxes a little. As she talks about Andre, her head kind of glides along. She opens her hand then quickly clasps them back together. Andre and Chelsea met at their hometown church in Whiteville when Chelsea would come back home from college. Chelsea served eight years in the Army Reserves and luckily for both her and Andre, her duty station was Fort Bragg. Andre also served ten years in the Army. Probably a more common and less answered reason for joining the service, Chelsea admits the luster was to gain financial independence for herself. She was always a number’s person, she says.

“It was a turning point in my life,” she says. “I took some time off from school and joined the military. It was one of the greatest decisions I made.”

Admittedly, Chelsea says, there were a lot of things that never crossed her mind about being in the service. Deployment was one of those. However, as fate would have it, Chelsea did not get a combat deployment during her eight years of service.

“If I look back at my career, that’s an experience that I wish I kind of had. No one wishes to be deployed but the experience, you know,” she says. “It's kind of like that guilt of some people lost their lives. Some people sacrificed more than others.”

Currently, Chelsea is a loan officer for Veterans United and she did eventually graduate with an undergraduate degree in Finance. Now, Chelsea feels great being able to help veterans afford to buy their own homes.

“I’m honored to be able to give back to the community,” she says. “I just want to help them achieve their goals.”

Chelsea hopes that the future will bring more opportunities to give back to the community. Her passion, she says, is figuring out how to help the homeless, specifically veterans in the community. Chelsea helps with hosting workshops, financial literacy, and partnering with organizations to give back.

“My goal is to make Fayetteville one of the best communities to live in … ever,” she says.

In the future, Chelsea plans to continue that goal for Fayetteville, maybe spend some time at the beach and one day have kids. For now, she laughs, she is the proud mom to two Yorkies.

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