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The PA Bunch: Impacting lives with noble actions

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sarah Gruber
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

This story is part of a series highlighting the team members of the 910th Airlift Wing public affair's office. 

A large drab building looms as the backdrop to a depressing scene. Families sit on cement steps or line the interior walls. A boy walks out. It’s evident he hasn’t had a bath in a while. His mother follows him and steps forward to hug Juliet Louden, thanking her for taking him out of that place.

Staff Sgt. Juliet Louden is a photojournalist in the 910th Airlift Wing public affairs office. A mother and teacher, Louden has made the act of giving a life-long endeavor. Louden enlisted in the U.S. Army to continue what those before her had accomplished.

“If you can imagine being 17 years old, a Junior in high school, going to basic training back when it was hardcore,” said Louden. “I would watch old war movies, and it made me think about what the people before me had sacrificed so that I can live the way I do. It just made me think that it was my duty and honor to also serve my country.”

Louden left the Army in 2003 as a specialist. Her sense of dedication and service has guided Louden through other milestones in life, specifically becoming a teacher and earning her master’s degree in educational leadership from Nova South Eastern University in 2008.

“I wanted to give back to the teachers who positively impacted my life and help my students become successful young adults,” said Louden. “I love to help people, especially kids, so it was a natural choice for me.”

When asked what her most memorable moments as a teacher have been, rather than naming a success of her own, she named several of her students’ accomplishments.

“I had a student who had no interest in my government class at the time and would tell me how boring politics were,” said Louden. “By the end of the year he had a true passion for the subject. He liked the class. I found out later that he went on to be the first African American football player at Purdue to run for student government at his college. That was awesome…Knowing that I helped inspire someone to do amazing things in the future is a moving feeling. Your actions can dramatically impact someone’s life; it’s that powerful.”

The moment Louden fully realized that concept occurred when she picked up a student of hers from a homeless shelter.

“I pick him up at this homeless shelter in Orlando, and I’m walking in, and I see all of these families there… It was heartbreaking to see,” said Louden. “I kind of felt like, ‘I’m only helping one person,’ but it’s one person. I felt grateful that I was in a position that I could help one of my students and provide stability for him and give him a positive environment to live in. He stayed for a while until I dropped him off at the airport for summer camp. I saw him go on to join the U.S. Navy.”

Perhaps the greatest impact she’s had is on the lives of her children. Her son, Cullen, was awarded a place in the 2020 National Football Foundation Team of Distinction, securing a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame. This fall, he is set to continue his football career at Tuft’s University, a prestigious college in Boston.

“My life has not been standard by any stretch of the imagination,” said Cullen. “It’s easy to give up, but when you have people like my mother in your corner, it gives you the courage and knowledge to keep pushing forward. Thanks to her guidance, I am leaving the house ready to face any challenge that comes my way.”

Her 11-year-old daughter, Jenna, is a skilled ice skater, winning several competitions.

“I love my mom because she is always there for me, and she’s like my bigger twin,” said Jenna.

Louden said, “I teach them to always be good to people, and as a parent, you learn from your mistakes and try to make sure your children don’t make the same mistakes.”

Louden married her husband in November 2019, blending both of their families.

“This day made me so happy, and I love all five children as if they were my own,” said Louden.

She celebrated the day with her 910th family, including one of her Public Affairs wingmen as a bridesmaid.

She has coached high school soccer for ten years, maintains a love of fitness, and has been a passionate Cleveland Browns fan since she was a child.

“John Elway broke my heart when I was a little girl,” joked Louden, “and I’m still waiting for the Browns to make it to the Super Bowl he denied us!”

Staff Sgt. Louden crossed into the blue in October 2016 and has soared since. She won the 2019 Air Force Reserve Command New Writer of the Year award and has been published in features such as Airman Magazine. While the travel and creativity is a rewarding part of her job, her favorite thing about being a public affairs Airman is getting to tell the stories of her fellow service members.

“When people think ‘Air Force,’ they think planes,” said Louden. “No. It’s not just that, it’s… it’s people. Peoples’ stories. It’s their lives, their hearts, it’s their depth of knowledge over what they’ve learned…those are the things I want to focus on and I want to write about.”

Soldier, teacher, mother, Airman and wife; Louden has lived a full life already and is eager to give more.