By Army Sgt. Amy Urbina

For Judy Adank, serving soldiers is personal. She has volunteered with the USO since 2017 and said she loves what she does.

Judy Adank poses outside the USO. | Photo credit DVIDS/Army Sgt. Amy Urbina

“I’m here a lot. You sit and listen to stories,” Adank said. “I can relate to what they are going through: long days, no sleep.”

Adank said she enjoys hearing deployment stories from troops who stop by the USO, and likes to share her own memories from life at sea.

"I was in the Navy for 12 years…loved every bit of it. I was on three different ships.”

“My role as a radioman was to make sure all communications were up,” Adank said. She explained how communicating with aircraft, ships and even submarines, was important for successful operations to her mission during the Gulf War.

Adank planned to retire from the Navy, but her career ended early when she was medically discharged due to an injury. She moved back to her home state of Wisconsin to be near her family and started volunteering at the USO in 2017.

“I don’t ask for anything in return…I just love volunteering,” said Adank.

“That’s my life, volunteering, and my family.”

Her father was an Army Veteran who fought in the Korean War.

“I think he was proud of me,” she said, adding that she was the only woman in her immediate family to join the military.

Her father passed away two years ago and she still struggles with the loss. “There’s good days and bad days,” she said.

Judy Adank’s volunteer badge and pins. | Photo credit DVIDS/Army Sgt. Amy Urbina

Adank got emotional when she talked about how the military honored her father with a 21-gun salute at his memorial service.

“Two soldiers presented my mother with the flag. That was really hard,” she said.

Adank said volunteering helps her keep a connection with her dad.

“I think being here helps a lot. He was in the Army, now I’m giving back to the Army.”

-This story first appeared on It has been edited for style, accuracy and brevity.