Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Molly Mae Potter, who served for six years and deployed to Afghanistan.
In 2007, Molly Mae Potter received her Air Force commission through Officer Training School after finishing college and earning a degree in engineering physics. Both of her parents had been in the Army, and Potter desired to continue their legacy of service. She commissioned as a first lieutenant and became part of the small group of women who were flight test engineers. When talking about her experience in this role, Potter said, “Every day, I woke up and felt proud of what I was doing with my life and representing women in a very challenging and demanding career field that required a high level of technical comprehension to be successful.”
In 2010, Potter was selected for a special operations mission and deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, her base was attacked, and a rocket exploded. Potter returned home with a traumatic brain injury as well as the painful memories from the experience. When discussing what it was like to return home, Potter said, “I was reluctant to get help because I wanted to prove that I was okay… that I could still serve.” In 2013, after a car accident reminded Potter of the post traumatic stressors that she had spent three years trying to push away, she realized it was important for her to seek help.
Potter honorably discharged from active duty in 2013. During her recovery, she realized the positive impact registered service dogs can have for active-duty service members and Veterans due to her experience with her service dog, Bella. Potter went on to work with the Pentagon to help Airmen to have a service dog for PTSD treatment.
Potter has worked hard to reduce the stigma around PTSD and mental health in the military by sharing her story and working to advocate for women. In 2016, she competed in Ms. Veteran America and won the title, gaining a new platform for her advocacy.
Potter currently lives in Texas and works for Dell. She became the Veterans Affairs commissioner for Austin in 2016. She started serving as a member of the Air Force Association board of directors in 2019.
Thank you for your service!
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Writer: Kimberly Kassis
Editor: Amanda Baker and Katherine Berman
Fact checker: Lia Sansoucy
Graphic artist: Courtney Carr