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NEWS | June 22, 2016

The bright side: Civil servant puts service before self

By Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Peeking through an always open door in building 705 here, Nancy Current sits with a smile framed by her pink and purple swaying bangs.

Passersby halt directly in front the 733rd Logistics Readiness Squadron's entryway to lean in for a quick hello to the Squadron's program coordinator, Nancy. The greeting is immediately followed by her laughter, which glides into the hallway.

"Sometimes you just have to laugh," said Nancy, "Laughter is what keeps me going."

Through 29 years of civil service at six different locations with the Department of Defense, Nancy has kept this light disposition at work even when stress hit her home life.

"You have to put some light in your life when your husband has a terminal illness," said Nancy. "People ask me, 'how do I cope with his disease?' Prayer and laughter - if I didn't have those things I would be balling my eyes out,"

Having never dealt with such an illness, when she first got the news of David's diagnosis two years ago, Nancy was at a loss.

"If you look it up, dementia is like an umbrella for a whole bunch of cognitive functions and other health issues - there is no getting better," she explained. "We were both just really upset, and had issues understanding each other."

In the beginning stages of his ailment, the couple got frustrated due to lack of memory on his part and lack of initial understanding on hers.

"It took a while to get used to," said Nancy. "Either I could get angry and stay angry or get frustrated, or I could start seeing the lighter side.  I figured out I was less stressful for him by being brighter."

This outlook to overcome not only shines past small frustrations like repeating questions and moving glasses back into the proper cabinet, but it carries into her work.

"She's always upbeat," said her previous supervisor Lorenzo Riddick, 733rd Mission Support Group director of operations. "Just in general as an administrative assistant, she always made sure that what she sent up to higher headquarters was perfect."

However, some days are still harder than others for Nancy.

"Not good," Nancy answered to a friend asking how things are. "He had a bad day yesterday."

These difficult days could entail anything from David waking up at 3 a.m. confused about where he is to refusing to take medication as he doesn't remember anything being wrong with him. However, the benefit is that the bad moments are short-lived as the next day is completely new to David.

"I have to just laugh and go with the flow of the new day," said Nancy. "If I were to hold a grudge, he would have no idea why, so it is easier to just keep things on the lighter side."

On Mondays, this attitude travels directly into her work life as she is able to put difficulties behind her to press through the day.

"She can always see the sunshine even on a cloudy day. You would never know something was wrong based on her work ethic," said Riddick. "She seems to bounce back very well and continues to be the go-to person for both Army and Air Force personnel matters on the installation."

For Nancy, the motivation of doing well at work is not only a daily goal, but also a way to give back to others who live with unique challenges like moving away from loved ones or losing comrades.

"We're like a family and families support each other," said Nancy. "My motivation is giving support to all of the nation's military, family members and veterans. If I see someone at the commissary having a bad day, I try to cheer them up with a smile, or by assisting them. I have bad days too though were I may not smile, but if someone smiles at me or a gate guard tells me, 'have a blessed day,' it turns everything around."