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Jessica’s choice

Hometown girl Jessica McBride is off to war. After only 14 months in the U.S. Army, PFC McBride volunteered to deploy to Iraq with the 46th Chemical Battalion with which she’ll spend the next year and a half in convoy escort.
Will McBride see battle? It’s possible, and if she does, she’s ready for it; the soldier said she’s been training to shoot a 50-caliber machine gun from the turret of an escort vehicle.
But there’s a lot more to the young Ennis woman than being a soldier.
McBride, who beat drug and alcohol addiction, is the single mother of a 4-year-old son, Tyler Chase Greer. Since mom joined the Army, the talkative, outgoing little boy has lived with his grandparents, Teresa and Jay Lloyd of Ennis –– “Nana” and “Poppy” to young Tyler.
McBride’s mother, Michelle Jones, lives in Ennis with 8-year-old Katie, her stepsister. Carla McBride, McBride’s stepmother, also lives in Ennis with Jessica’s sisters, 17-year-old Jennifer and Megan, 15. Both attend Ennis High School.
McBride said the best thing about the Army is its stability and structure.
“I like getting a pay check every month and not having to worry about getting fired or laid off,” she laughed.
“In the Army, Jessica knows who she is and what she is supposed to do,” said family friend Cindy Lovelace, who came to know the determined servicewoman several years ago. “My husband Dave and I fell in love with her and Tyler. When she mentioned joining the Army, we said, ‘Go for it.’ The Army would get her away from the drugs and alcohol that had been very much a part of Jessica’s life.”
And it did.
“I like knowing I can do my job and do it well.” McBride confirmed. “The Army is like a big family. I have friends who don’t want to use me, and who I can count on when I need them.”
Stability wasn’t always a part of Jessica’s life. She dropped out of school at age 16 to try and make it on her own.
“She never was truly on her own because she lived with one friend or another for several years,” said Lovelace.
But in September 2003, Tyler was born, and the new mother knew she had to make a positive change in her life for her son’s sake. That year McBride went back to Ennis High School via the PRIDE program, an outreach giving dropouts a chance to get a diploma. In 2005 she graduated from PRIDE with pride; she was 20 years old and Tyler was two.
A product of what’s good about Ennis and its school district, according to EISD Communications Director Henry Martinez, McBride now represents the best of American troops in the war on terror.
“Jessica told us she joined the Army to become a real person,” Lovelace said with emotion. “In August 2006, a young single mother without a future left for basic training. Now, that young single mother has pride and confidence, and is working to make a good life for herself and her son.”
McBride, who trained at Fort Jackson, S.C., is now stationed at Fort Hood. She heads to Iraq on Dec. 15.

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Posted by on Nov 29 2007. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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