During this GWOT, we are all very aware of the military heroes who sacrifice their all in the sandbox. What we may not know, or ever hear about, are those working alongside our troops as civilians. There are many who put their own lives on hold, as they embed with our troops, working to make a better future for strangers in a foreign land.
One such woman is Paula Loyd. I had never heard of her until I read a tribute piece to her over at Mail Call! Supporting the Troops. I did go on to research Paula and found one quote about her that I want to add to Kathi's piece:
“Paula’s vast experience in Afghan reconstruction efforts, her thorough professionalism, and gentle demeanor had a profound impact on the units she supported,” said Ted Wright, acting president of BAE Systems’ technology solutions and services division, in a statement. “She was committed to helping improve conditions in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with Paula’s family and friends.” (I found that in ArmyTimes here)
Rather than quote the many sources I found, I am posting Kathi's piece as a starting point for insights into this woman who made a difference:
Friday, January 09, 2009Michael Yon had a post on Jan. 8th Godspeed to Paula Lloyd and Wired.com Danger Room's Noah Shachtman had a post with more on the same day:Third 'Human Terrain' Researcher Dead (and the correct spelling of Paula's last name is 'Loyd',with one "L")
I remembered the news story of the attack on Paula Loyd.In early November, while on patrol in an Afghan village, Paula Loyd was doused with a flammable liquid, and set on fire. She suffered second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body. Loyd was rushed to a nearby medical center, where she was treated by a burn specialist. Shortly thereafter, Loyd was evacuated to the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and then to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.And judging by blog posts and news stories I saw around the net, there is a lot of controversy about the Human Terrain System program, and also a lot of controversial commenting back and forth between liberals and conservatives because one of Loyd's fellow contractor's shot and killed Paula's attacker shortly after the attack on Paula Loyd.However, I do not wish to get into all those issues.In researching a little more about Paula Loyd, I think the main thing to remember about her is that her's was a life very well lived, in service to others.On mySALife from San Antonio,TX, there was an article about Paula Loyd written in December, that gives you a glimpse of how special she was Cary Clack: Hate brings her back to loving town and in Paula Loyd's obituary HERE , you truly get a sense of what a great loss her death was to not only her family and friends, but to our country, and the world.Paula Loyd was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and lived in Alamo Heights. She attended Cambridge Elementary, where her father attended elementary school, junior high, and started high school in Alamo Heights before moving to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.She attended Antilles High School for two years and graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. Paula holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish from Wellesley College. She received a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree in Foreign Policy and International Security from Georgetown University, as well as a Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Studies.Following college, she served a four year term in the US Army and a four year term in the US Army Reserve Program.While serving in the Reserve Program she became involved with humanitarian work programs in Afghanistan, and for several years after with the United States Agency for International Development, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations. Paula served as a Field Program Officer for USAID in Zabul Province, where she worked closely with the United Nations, U.S. military, local Government officials and tribal elders on a number of humanitarian and development projects.Paula passed away in the Brook Army Medical Center. Her death occurred as result of the injuries sustained while serving humanitarian causes in Afghanistan....There is more on Paula in Kathi's post, and I suggest you go read it here. There are many sources which detail Paula's full life, some dating back to kindergarten friends. Take the time to do your own research, and get a glimpse into the life and work of this well-loved woman, who made a difference.
My thoughts and prayers are with all who love Paula. She will not be forgotten.