#SheEmpowers: Melissa Still

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jennifer Zima
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

In the month of March, the world recognizes the contributions of women, remembering those who paved the way for future generations. The 501st Combat Support Wing is highlighting exemplary women who light the way for the Pathfinders around them.

Melissa Still, 423rd Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant, has been supporting RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth A&FRC members in any way she can. “I’ve done it all: personal financial management, relocation, transition, readiness, volunteer and employment help,” said Still. “I take care of service members and family members, from cradle to grave. I educate, encourage and empower.”

501st Public Affairs: What is your background? What motivated you to serve with the Air Force?

Melissa Still: "Youngest daughter of three; parents said – must have an education or a trade. I was told by high school counselors that education wasn’t a good fit for me; in my former life I’ve had many jobs – coach driver, files clerk, housekeeper, childcare provider, medical librarian, and DoDDS teacher. Military spouse – husband retired US Army in 2002 and we returned to Washington state. I was not able to get my foot in the door teaching so – ended up volunteering at the Airman and Family Readiness Center – then became a sub-contractor then a contractor and then a federal employee (it was a journey). What motivated me to work for the Air Force?  - I wanted to have a JOB."

PA: How do you want to inspire younger generations of women?

Still: "I was raised very traditionally – encouraged to have the education or trade but it was pretty much expected that I would marry and have a family. I did get a trade and an education (2 bachelors and a master’s along with several different certifications) – and didn’t marry until I was 37. If a female chooses to have a child I think the most important job is to be a good mother. Yes, you can be anything you want, and I do think that an education is extremely important – it is NOT a guarantee of a job but it shows that you were willing to put in the time and effort. Having an education also allows you to see things from lots of different perspectives. What I see is we live in a society that wants instant gratification, but I really believe there is a rite of passage. I don’t know that I really inspire younger female generations – I’m genuine and consistent and hopefully that goes a long way."   

PA: How can you be a role model for them? 

Still: "I do practice what I preach. I believe in being consistent / honest and “doing right” even when it’s hard or nobody is watching. I’m not perfect, that’s for sure, but I’m always willing to share my life experiences. At my previous base I had the following 3 words prominently on my office wall: “Educate, Encourage and Empower.” That’s how I see being a role model."

PA: What are your future plans/in or out of the Air Force? 

Still: "Well I’m here at RAF Alconbury until Fall of 2021 with a possibility of extending to 2023. I don’t aspire to be a supervisor. I think my passion is working with “the people.” I could retire now but not sure I’m ready yet. When I do retire the goal is to live on our 40 acres raising some livestock and growing fruits and vegetables… I will probably volunteer at the local elementary school and library. I look forward to having grandsons help “Grandma Lissa” work on the land."