JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) - 30,000 veterans were a part of New York City’s Veterans Day Parade, including one from Southwest Louisiana.
Retired U.S. Army Major Yolanda Poullard dedicated over 18 years on her life to serve her country.
“One of my duty stations that I love to talk about is when I was at Fort Stewart, Georgia," Poullard said. "I had the honor and privileged to be a company commander over 200 soldiers.”
She says she was deployed to Iraq.
“From there on I went to different locations,” Poullard said. “I went to Camp Shelby where I actually trained soldiers to help prepare them, National Guards and Reservists to prepare them to go overseas and to go to war. I went to Fort Polk, from Fort Polk I went to Fort McPherson in Atlanta while it was open, and then we re-located to Sumter, South Carolina at the Air Force Base. I then was stationed in D.C. when I was chosen to do AFPAK Hands. I went to the language school and I deployed to Afghanistan.”
Poullard says while she was stationed in Afghanistan, she had to be medically evacuated.
“One of my problems was PTSD," says Poullard. "I think what really flared it up was that on April 16, 2013, I was getting ready to go to the headquarters when we were attacked. Our team was blown up.”
Poullard says she lost three comrades that day.
“It was a struggle because I felt like I had left my team," says Poullard, "You know, it was really hard. I had a problem dealing with it and accepting it. One of the things we learned in the military is that you have to suck it up and drive on. And for so long I had been sucking things up and driving on.”
She says when she returned to the states, she sought treatment. The program that has helped her is Operation Mend.
Through the program, she was able to attend the New York City Veterans Day Parade along with 30,000 other veterans.
“It just embraced us veterans and just let us know that we appreciate your service," Poullard says. "A veteran to another veteran, you have a special connection. It’s just that bond you have; they know the struggles you have. Words cannot explain. It was beautiful, it really was.”