ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some people reinvented themselves when they lost their jobs during the pandemic. Our final Remarkable Woman ended up doing what she’s always done: serve.
Tiffany Leandra Orner followed in her mother’s footsteps in service in the Air Force, and in helping veterans after, noting, “I’m third-generation military.” After her service, her mother worked in California on the veterans’ home grounds, helping servicemen and women who were older deal with drug and alcohol counseling.
“On weekends or at night, some of the guys who lived there would walk up just to talk to my mom,” Tiffany recalled, “and it was just a thing, she’d say, ‘Well, I’ll be right back,’ and she just loved on them. So, absolutely, my mother is my rock.”
Finding the transition out of the military difficult when she moved to the Capital Region, Tiffany searched for veterans organizations to help her and then stuck with them to help others. “I joined the Veterans Business Council which helps veterans that are unemployed or underemployed take the amazing skill set they learned in the military and transpose them on their resume so they are attractive to veteran’s organizations.”
She also volunteered, working with the Cell Phones for Soldiers drive, providing a lifeline for deployed servicemen and women to phone home. “I knew that that was important to make sure that especially during the holidays our service members felt wanted and connected.”
Once they’re back on the home front, Tiffany works to make sure veterans have a home, with the Veterans Ball Committee fundraising for the Foreverly House—the first home in New York State for female veterans with children.
“I have three kids. I will live in a tent by the Hudson River before I ever give those babies up,” Tiffany emphasized, “and that’s one of the biggest issues we female veterans face. We stay in these horrible relationships. We stay toxic or sick because we don’t want to give up what we have provided for our children.”
Those plans on hold now because of COVID, and the pandemic again challenging her spirit with a layoff from a veteran-owned business. But she again rose to the occasion, embodying the Air Force motto to “Aim High” and volunteered more with Feed Albany.
“It started feeding the servers and their families but then we saw a bigger need,” Tiffany said. “We saw that the kids were home, and a lot of these kids ate breakfast and lunch at school, so we partnered with food pantries and the Albany Sheriff and we started giving food to everybody.”
NEWS10’s Lydia Kulbida asked Tiffany, “What would you say to encourage people to go into service or the service of volunteerism?”
“We are all put here for a reason. There’s a date when we begin, and a date when our journey here is complete. Make sure that dash means something,” Tiffany advised. “Whatever it is—however big or however small you’re able to give, just give. Don’t second guess. Be the person you need when you’re low, when you’re feeling less than, because it absolutely helps raise you up.”