F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
The decision to join the military isn’t one to be made lightly. Whether you join for school, travel, or to escape the mundane life in a small town, service is admirable. For one Mighty Ninety Airman, the draw is building a better life and giving back. Born in bustling Brooklyn, New York and raised by a Dominican mother, Senior Airman Tricia Hypolite, 90th Security Support Squadron keys and control center controller, is a first generation American and Airman working to make her family proud and inspire others to make the best of their circumstances.
“My mom raised five kids on her own and I watched her work so hard to get us shoes, supplies and so much more to provide a life where we were no different than other kids,” Hypolite said. “Because of her, I learned hard work at a very young age.”
When Hypolite originally expressed an interest in the military, her mother worried it was too dangerous and didn’t approve.
“With my family’s cultural background, they see the military as something for a man,” Hypolite said. “They picture war and senseless killing. My mom wanted me to go to college instead.”
Heeding her mother’s advice, Hypolite obtained a bachelor’s in clinical and counseling psychology, but service remained in her heart.
“I joined because I had friends who were in the military, but when I saw my brother graduate from basic training, it gave me goosebumps,” Hypolite said. “After that, I was sold. I went to the recruiter and told him to sign me up.”
Despite the negative reactions in the beginning, Hypolite’s family could see the good in her decision to join.
“I want my daughter to know I’m very proud of her,” said her mother, Lorna Hypolite. “She is a determined go-getter and she pushed herself to get to where she is now. I want her to continue to aim higher and be better.”
The enthusiastic cop also hopes to be an example for her nieces and nephews.
“They are the next generation and I want them to know that you can do whatever you want, no matter what anyone thinks,” Hypolite said. “I have opened my family’s eyes and given them a new perspective on what it means to serve.”
Hypolite said that despite her mother having the equivalent of an elementary education, she went on to get a GED and become a certified nursing assistant on top of working and supporting her family.
“Whenever I find myself wanting to complain about anything, I picture my mom pulling herself out of bed in pain and going to work,” Hypolite said. “I have to go to work and everything else is taken care of. I have a place to sleep, I know exactly when I’m getting paid and I have full healthcare coverage.”
Hypolite shared her passion for volunteerism and emphasized the importance of Airmen getting involved with the community.
“I’m big on giving back because it’s an opportunity for me to remember how good I have it,” Hypolite said. “I think it’s important for Airmen to volunteer and gain an understanding that some people would kill to have the education and opportunities that we do.”
Staff Sgt. Jacob Apodaca, 90th SSPTS keys and control center supervisor said Hypolite has an infectious positive and upbeat attitude that brings joy to the office.
“Airman Hypolite is an outgoing and caring person,” Apodaca said. “She works very hard and goes above and beyond by volunteering in her off time every week to raise funds for the squadron.”
Hypolite is inspired by her mother’s sacrifices and she’s determined to get her master’s degree and complete 20 years of service.
“I will never forget the things my mom did to take care of us and set us up for success,” Hypolite said. “It’s my turn to take care of her and make her proud.”