Persistence: 232nd CCS Airman Overcomes Life Obstacles

  • Published
  • By SSgt Hayden Johnson
  • Dannelly Field

DANNELLY FIELD, Ala. — He grew up in a small town in southwest Alabama. He had his
mother and father, his brother and sister. Motivated in his academics and playing soccer, life was
perfect and the future was open to endless possibilities, then whiplash and that childhood door
slammed shut, and he had to take on adulthood sooner.

Life’s decisions took his father away during early adolescence, leaving his mother single and
working three jobs. This took her away from him and his siblings most nights. With four little
eyes looking to him for help, he took on the responsibility to care for them, a feeling that carries
on today. Looking back, he recalls being distracted by this responsibility, which took him away
from his academics and adolescent years.

“Going through school without my parents, my dad gone and my mom was working so we didn’t
really see her, it was hard,” Airman 1st Class Preston Woods, an RF Transmissions technician
with the 232nd Combat Communications Squadron attached to Dannelly Field, Alabama. “I was so
worried about what was going to happen when we got home, I couldn't focus on school. If I
didn't have any of the distractions I had at home, I would have been the top of my class, no

Knowing he couldn’t change the past, Woods persisted. He attacked another life obstacle when
trying to join the military. He struggled to clear some health issues that were holding him back
from enlisting. However, through networking, and possibly what could have been a miracle from
God, he recalls finally getting to go to basic training and the growth he experienced.

“The military built me to be able to handle everything on my own,” Woods said. “It built my
independence, and I felt accomplished. It was such a short period of time, but it gave me the selfconfidence
I needed to go to school and to be a doctor.”

Woods is currently enrolled at Auburn University Montgomery, majoring in Biology, with hopes
of one day becoming an Optometrist. His goal is to one day take his education back to the guard
and serve as an eye doctor. Looking back at his life, he talks about some of the financial
obstacles he faced, but has since found that it can be overcome.

“No matter what your background is, no matter where you come from, no matter what family
members you have, you can become whatever you want to be,” he challenged. “There will
always be obstacles, but you can overcome it. Nobody is stopping you from becoming what you
want to be, except you.”