SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - There are some veterans who are grateful to have the opportunity to spend the holiday with families — one of those veterans is Kattie Hollay.
Christmas Eve in the Hollay household means wrapping presents and doing a television interview.
“I was actually going to join the Navy because that’s what all my family did, but I decided to go Marine Corps," she said.
In the fall of 1997, Hollay left her home in Kansas City, Missouri and headed to Parris Island in South Carolina for boot camp.
“The first couple of weeks really scare you because you gotta get used to all the yelling and running around and it’s completely crazy," she said. "But once you get used to it and you start getting into the groove of things, it’s a lot of fun.”
Her plan was to go into communications, but she ended up working in ground supply and logistics.
“You work a lot in the warehouse and do the administrative stuff for the ordering and the processing and everything like that," she said. "So I found a little niche of working in a warehouse and organizing stuff like that.”
She spent a lot of time in the North East, traveling from Massachusetts, New York and Washington D.C. Soon her four years turned into 17.
“The four years would go by so fast that you don’t even realize it," she said. "Then after ten years or 8 years is really where you have to make the decision — stay in or get out.”
But when Hollay became pregnant with her daughter, she finally made the decision to retire, and a year later a phone call led her to become the Bossier Chamber of Commerce’s new military liaison.
“If it was jobs for military — exiting military or if the businesses are trying to get information into the military that’s kind of what I do," she said. "I’m just the middle person, the communication between the two.”
As Hollay finishes wrapping gifts with her family, she’s learned her journey through the Marine Corps and the life she lives now has truly been the biggest blessing of all.
Hollay is also the secretary for the Women’s Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex. The statue that they are currently working to have created and set in front of the Bossier Civic Center was modeled after her.