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A most resilient soldier

Spc. Isamar Hansen has overcome many challenges to succeed at work and in life

Spc. Isamar Hansen, 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, is a proud soldier and competitive bikini bodybuilder. Photo credit: SSgt Francisco Colon, 23rd BEB

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In facing numerous challenges in life, Spc. Isamar Hansen, 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, personifies resilience.

"There have been a lot of challenges in my life," she stated in an email.

Born and raised in Venezuela, she came to America as an International student to learn English at North Seattle Community College. While there she noticed an Army recruiting booth. 

"I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of," she continued.

To achieve that goal and to pay full-time college tuition, she worked three jobs.

"I wanted to do everything the right and honest way."

That proved to be difficult, and Hansen thought about giving up and leaving the United States. Then she met her future husband, married and thought life would be easier.

"Life was great until my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer," Hansen said. To cope with the stress, she focused on bikini bodybuilding.

"I did not want to be on the dark side of feeling tired and uncomfortable with myself, so I started investing in myself," she explained.

With her husband's cancer in remission a year later, Hansen became a naturalized citizen and enlisted in the Army on May 20, 2019.

After successful completion of basic and advanced individual training, she learned that she would be stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"I am very happy and grateful to find amazing leaders who always push me to succeed," Hansen said.

But for every step forward, however, there seemed to be a step back.

Shortly after arriving at JBLM, Hansen's husband's cancer returned, moved into a lung, and grew to stage 4. 

"He is still in the recovery phase, but we strongly believe that God never gives you anything that you cannot handle," she explained. "What you live through will make you stronger in the future."

To prepare for her future as an officer, Hansen enrolled in a Fundamental Academic Skill Training (FAST) class and "studied my brain off for 20 days." Her work resulted in a General Technician (GT) score that jumped from 89 to 125.

"I believe that we need good leaders in the Army who inspire each other and to always be the better person no matter who we encounter," Hansen explained. "I want to give back through my selfless service in the United States Army."

Hansen also began competing in bikini bodybuilding competitions.

Her efforts in the gym and in the classroom have paid off. This spring she will compete in three competitions; this summer she will enter the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at Chaminade University of Honolulu and begin her studies.

"Earning a commission would enable me to inspire and lead those who I serve with through hard work and perseverance," Hansen added.

Despite the daunting challenges Hansen has faced over the past four years, she remains optimistic about her future.

"Life for me as a civilian and as a soldier has been a lesson of great resilience and profound opportunities," Hansen concluded.

"There is no greater purpose in life than to serve one's people, family and nation."

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