Since NFP Gear began the Sponsor A Soldier initiative back in January, we’ve had the privilege of reading about -- and writing about -- some of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines that make up our distinguished U.S. Military. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that none of these men and women are average. Their initial motivations for taking the oath that transformed them from civilian to military varied greatly. But, if there is one commonality among all the men and women we’ve read about, it’s their dedication to the team around them and their will to improve.

We’re beyond impressed by our service men and women and proud to honor yet another member of our esteemed military: Sergeant Ashley Waner.

October’s Sponsor A Soldier honoree originally joined the Army as a way to pay for college. However, SGT Waner has gleaned much more than a simple tuition check from her time as an Active Duty and Reserve Soldier.

“[The Army] has taught me more than what my parents could have taught me and it has given me a lot of direction and independence,” SGT Waner said.

SGT Waner hails from Lubbock, Texas. It was there, while working as a waitress, that she made the life-changing decision to join the Army as an Active Duty Soldier. Though her initial plan was to join as a Reservist, SGT Waner found the benefits of becoming an Active Duty Soldier were just too good to pass up. So, with a blessing from her father, a veteran of the Iowa National Guard, Waner joined the ranks of the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, NY. From there, during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Waner deployed to Iraq, where she served her country faithfully for 15 months before returning stateside.

Currently, SGT Waner serves as a Battalion Supply Sergeant with the 327th Military Police Battalion USAR out of Arlington Heights, Illinois. While this Soldier only serves the Army part-time, self-improvement and the betterment of the Army remain full-time goals.

“[I want to] help motivate and lead Soldiers, whether that is in their personal decisions in life or to help them in their careers,” SGT Waner said. “I would also like to gain as much knowledge from my leaders, so I can carry it onto others.”

According to her husband, David Waner, these aren’t future aspirations, but traits SGT Waner exhibits regularly.

"She goes out of her way to help her fellow Soldiers without asking or expecting anything in return, David Waner said. “She is constantly mentoring the enlisted below her, while trying to learn and help the [Non-Commissioned Officers] above her. She will give her time, experience, and input to any of her fellow Soldiers without question. If that was all I knew about her, it would be enough."

SGT Waner, we at NFP Gear are proud to offer what little support we can, even as you give your heart and soul to the Soldiers around you. We thank you for your dedicated service.

The NFP Sponsor A Soldier Program represents our effort to support our US Military Members. We can’t repay them for their sacrifice, but we can pay tribute to our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors with this small token of our sincere appreciation. We hope these gifts of supplements and clothing will provide some relief to those living without the comforts of home.

To nominate a service member or inquire about the NFP Sponsor a Soldier program, contact support@nfpgear.com. Submissions received by the 15th will be considered for the current month’s program honoree. Please include the service member’s name, contact information, and a brief explanation of why you wish to nominate him or her.