IVH employee served in Marine Corps
Editor’s note: This is the latest in an ongoing series of articles profiling those who have ever served in the U.S. military, be it overseas or stateside. Every Thursday, a new profile will be published in the T-R.
Teresa McCall has led a multifaceted life. She has worked as a judicial assistant, domestic violence advocate, child advocate, writer and gallery owner, and is currently employed as an Administrative Assistant 2 (AA2) at the Iowa Veterans Home. From 1986-88 she served in the U.S. Marine Corps, an experience she said had a profound impact on her development as a person.
McCall, who is a native of Gilman, said she got interested in joining the Marine Corps after she met with a recruiter who explained the merits of serving in that branch of the military.
“The recruiter was impressive. The Marine Corps seemed like the toughest, most challenging and most respected branch,” she said. “And I liked the opportunity to have college paid for.”
The summer after graduating from high school, she was sent to Parris Island, S.C., for basic training, then came back home and worked for the recruiter for 30 days, then was sent to Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“Military ran deep in my family,” McCall said. “My grandfather served in World War II, my great-grandfather in World War I, and I had an uncle in the Navy, so I felt that pull to join.”
She noted how her family was supportive of this decision.
“I was the first Marine in my family, and the first woman to serve in the military,” she said.
McCall spent her two years of service at the Marine Corps Recruit Deport (MCRD) in San Diego, with the rank of Lance Corporal.
“My military service was during peacetime, and I sometimes say I feel guilty about that, when others had to put so much to the test,” she said.
The veteran had an office job, working for the chaplain. One duty she enjoyed was sitting in on court-martials to take notes, thus inspiring her interest in the justice system.
She noted the difference in duties between male and female Marines.
“Women had two weeks of rifle training, where men had six weeks. Men and women were also separated during boot camp,” she said.
McCall wed while she was in the service, and became pregnant. She decided to return to Iowa to raise her growing family, being honorably discharged.
“I’m a very proud mother, even if motherhood altered my military course,” McCall said.
She worked for the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa (in Jasper County) beginning in 1989 through 1998. She and her second husband Brad, an attorney, and later a judge, lived in Grinnell for 18 years, where she owned the Cornerstone Gallery from 2002-05, and then worked for Domestic Violence Alternative/Sexual Assault Center in Grinnell for a year. After taking some time off to battle cancer, McCall went to work for Jasper, Poweshiek, Tama Decategorization Project for three years, before working at Grinnell College for five years. She also served as a writer for “Our Grinnell” magazine.
She earned an Associate of Arts degree from DMACC, Phi Theta Kappa, and studied law, politics and society (LPS) at Drake University, all while raising her daughters, Kayla and Karly.
Wanting to give back to other veterans, McCall served as chair of the Poweshiek County Veterans Affairs Commission. In May 2017, she secured employment at IVH as an AA2, serving in the maintenance division, managing pest control, housekeeping, sanitation and electronic waste.
“I really wanted to work here. What gives me a ‘charge’ is being around other veterans.” she explained.
Is she thankful for her two years of military service?
“I think the military is a good place to be. I had a good experience and positive role models. I grew a lot as a person,” McCall said.
Do you know a military veteran who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to Editor Jeff Hutton at: email@example.com or contact American Legion Post 46 Commander Randy Kessler at: firstname.lastname@example.org