Today Senator Lisa Murkowski released her 21st Veteran Spotlight Video spotlighting Soldotna resident Jane Fuerstenau.
Fuerstenau is the head librarian at Kenai Peninsula College and says her time as a jet mechanic in the Navy helps her connect with veteran students.
Working on jets had never occurred to Fuerstenau and she described the mix-up that led to it.
Fuerstenau: “And they said they were sending me to Virginia to be trained to be an aviation machinist. And I said woah! You’ve got it all wrong. I’m not mechanical, I’ve never done anything like that. And they said well this is what this says and I said oh no no no! I was very careful, I had paperwork that I signed that I’m gonig to be a hospital corpsman and that you’re sending me to A school for that. And they found the paper and said yeah you did. So, you’ve got a choice.”
At the time there were no openings for hospital corpsman, so instead of throwing away all the time she had spent in training and boot camp, Feurstenau decided to train to be an aviation machinist.
Fuerstenau said that after her time in the Navy, finding a job was quite hard. She said she did not talk about her military experience because of the assumptions people made.
Fuerstenau: “The first thing was that I couldn’t get the kind of jobs that I thought I was qualified for. Because I had done a year and a half of college and I was very good with math, and English, and communication but everybody looked at what I had done for the past five years and they’d say oh well you can move boxes in a warehouse, we don’t have any of those kinds of jobs. For women.”
Her first job after the Navy ended up being an auto mechanic at Sears.
Fuerstenau’s adviser at the University of Maine encouraged her to work at a library. She volunteered at a library and eventually applied her bachelors degree in English to a Master’s in Library Sciences and has been a librarian ever since.
Senator Murkowski called Fuerstenau’s story truly inspiring.