Our weekly series, Remembering Our Veterans, continues with the story of Cherise Nicole Jones.

Just two weeks after graduating from East High School, Jones was on her way to boot camp, the start of an eight year run in the reserves. 

"I was looking for a challenge when I joined," said Jones. "So, I had ran track in high school, I was in pretty good shape. The physical part wasn't difficult, it was being away from home, being away from my family, being away for all those things that are usual comforts. I was 17 when I left, I turned 18 in basic training. I remember the first time we were able to call home, I called my dad and he didn't answer...he just wasn't available and my reaction to that was to cry, which I wasn't expecting. In that moment I just wanted to talk to my family." 

In 2014 she decided it was time to end her military service and return home to help take care of her dying father.

"It was the best thing for me to do, because he would have passed while I was away again," said Jones. "It was time for me to take care of my family, my military family was taken care of, I knew they would be okay without me and it was time to put that back into my own family." 

Now in her current position as a social worker at the Erie Veteran Center, she is able to make a connection with veterans in need.

"It's a world that I'm very familiar with and can relate to. And having received counseling of my own to readjust and to come back home and be a college student, I realized how important it is to have someone who service members can relate to," said Jones. 

Jones has two brothers who enlisted after she did and a cousin who spent his military career in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Cherise Nicole Jones, thank you for your service.