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Swamp Fox Airman has a passion for helping others

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek
  • 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs
"I love to help people find their journey and be an inspiration for other people," said Knox, an emergency management technician, with the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Civil Engineering Squadron.

In 2005, Knox and her family suffered through catastrophic events during Hurricane Katrina.  Today, she employs her resiliency, selflessness and her experiences to help others through her service in the Air National Guard.

Knox joined the South Carolina Air National Guard in 2013 and said her favorite thing about McEntire is how family oriented the base is, "and that keeps me here."

The Fulsom, Calif. native grew up with one older sister and one younger brother.  Education is deeply rooted in her family.

"I love school, I was always a natural brain," said Knox. "I love studying."

After graduation from Fulsom High School, she followed in her mother's footsteps and enrolled in Xavier University of Louisiana. 

"My mother has always inspired our family to keep reaching," said Knox.  "I attribute much of my go-getter attitude to her."

Her senior year she was nominated "College Queen" and became a volunteer at Mobile Xavier in a program called Experience Exchange.  While there, Knox contributed to helping youth at inter-city elementary schools throughout New Orleans with communication skills and public speaking.  Knox guided facility tours of Xavier and assisted the students to use the facilities to get them excited about education.  She also volunteered her time as a Spanish tutor and a member of the gospel choir.

Two weeks into her senior year of college, Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, causing her and her extended family to become trapped in their home for more than a week.  The carnage from the hurricane forced her and her family members to flee and rebuild their lives in California.  After this traumatic event, Knox still achieved her bachelor's degree majoring in mass communications in 2006.

It was then that she began a spiritual journey in search of where God wanted her to be.  After many years of soul searching, she felt that she was called upon to serve in the Air National Guard.

Residing in California her decision to join the SCANG took her service from coast to coast, leaving her to ponder a solution to the distance. Knox recalls the encouraging words of Capt. Amber Goodman as she joined the ranks of McEntire's student flight. 

"'We are going to make this work,' she would say. She was so encouraging," said Knox.  "I was relieved to have people from the base who were going to work with me for the best solution.  And it's been that way from day one."

Becoming an emergency management technician has allowed Knox to feel like she has come "full circle" in life.

"I want to save people the way first responders do.  Working in emergency management, I see the connection and the unit is awesome," said Knox.

As an emergency management technician, Knox assists her team in safety training for Airmen preparing for deployments, prepares shelter in place kits and keeps McEntire's emergency procedures up to date.

Since joining the SCANG, she has accomplished honor graduate student in basic training and technical school.  She also recently passed her Career Development Courses, achieved her 5-level training and is currently working on receiving her associates through the Community College of the Air Force.

Knox's hobbies include singing in the gospel choir, playing the violin, and dance choreography.  She also recently published a biography about her journey, and dedicated her book to anyone on their spiritual path. 

When not on drill weekend, she enjoys time spent with her husband, Mel Knox, and being a step-mother.  She is also a volunteer in a female public speaking group called "Sisters with Voices" assisting young women ages 18 through 25 with facing adversities in life.

"Life is so short.  If I can give to other people at any moment, then that's what I want to do," said Knox. 

In her future, Knox plans to keep achieving in the direction of motivational speaking and continue traveling to different cities and states to spread spirituality and the word.  She also plans on retiring from the Air National Guard.

"Join the Guard.  The opportunities are endless," said Knox.  "Life in the National Guard gives you a good break and a good balance from whatever you are doing in your life, you can achieve different goals and reach new levels here.  I have had such a blast!"