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From small town Iowa girl to MacDill Airman

U.S. Air Force Airman Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, repairs a diesel generator at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, repairs a diesel generator at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017. Matheny, 22, performed a variety of repairs on the diesel generator from repairing the door to replacing the light assembly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airman  Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, replaces a light assembly at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, replaces a light assembly at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017. The light assembly is needed for the panel lights on the diesel generator to operate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airman Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, prepares her tools for the day at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, prepares her tools for the day at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 1, 2017. Matheny enlisted in the United States Air Force on January 10, 2017 and MacDill AFB is her first permanent duty station. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Growing up in the small town of Clinton, Iowa, Airman 1st Class Devin Matheny, an aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron, never dreamed she would one day be in the military.

“My mom was a teacher,” said Matheny. “I thought I might someday be a teacher too.”

Everything changed when her brother, Kyle, joined the Air Force as a security forces defender in 2010.

“I’ve always been close to my brother and looked up to him, so when he joined the Air Force, I decided I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” said Matheny.

In addition to her brother, Matheny’s grandfather served in the Air Force, which further influenced her decision to join.

“My family is very proud of the path I am on,” said Matheny. “I needed a change in my life after going from one job to another, and the Air Force was that change for me.”

Following her high school graduation, Matheny held various jobs, but she says she never found the career that satisfied her.

“I was a bank teller, waitress, lifeguard and bartender to name a few,” said Matheny.

Despite the differences between each occupation, they all shared one commonality – customer service.

Now, as an Airman, she serves the Air Force and her country is her sole customer.

“I’m glad I get to contribute to the mission,” said Matheny. “Without us, planes can’t fly and it’s rewarding to be a part of what makes that happen.”

According to Matheny, the Air Force has given her more than just a career. It has given her opportunities.

“The Air Force has allowed me to travel, make new friends, and have benefits that could one day support a family,” said Matheny.

In the past year of service, Matheny graduated Air Force Basic Military Training, finished her technical training, and arrived to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. She is proud she is able to do something she loves.

“The one thing I have noticed about Matheny is her work ethic; she is a hard worker,” said Senior Master Sgt. Scott Marshall, the AGE flight chief with the 6th MXS. “I usually see her covered in dirt and yet, she remains positive and always has a smile on her face.”

Marshall also added that maintaining a positive attitude can be increasingly difficult because the 6th MXS AGE career field has many opposing factors.

“We work constantly in hot conditions living in Tampa,” said Marshall. “This job can be uncomfortable, frustrating and even challenging, but that’s why it is refreshing to see an Airman who can stay positive when faced with tremendous adversity.”

Even when covered in dirt and oil, Matheny’s persistent optimism shines through.

“I am just happy to have a job where I get to work on something different every day and I enjoy what I am able to do and accomplish,” said Matheny.

In the beginning, Matheny started her Air Force journey following in her brother and grandfather’s footsteps, but now, she is paving her own path to becoming a model Airman for her peers and future Airmen.