Sgt Anne Oravec
Home Award Program Recipient
In March 2001, a few months prior to her high school graduation, Anne Oravec enlisted in the Army National Guard as a Military Police officer, excited about her new endeavor.
Her unit, the 855th Military Police Unit, was ordered to active duty to Iraq in 2003. In September 2003 Anne was moving to provide security for a large convoy just outside of Fallujah, when the convoy was attacked and an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated directly under her armored vehicle. Shrapnel from the blast knocked Anne unconscious, embedding fragments in her head, face, and legs. She recalls seeing red from the blood in her eyes, and hearing the screams of her gunner who was severely injured, but still firing back at the insurgents fleeing the scene. Members of Anne’s squad managed to rescue the two of them and render first aid; and Anne and her gunner were then medically evacuated from the scene to Baghdad Hospital. Remarkably, within just a few weeks, the two recovered and were able to rejoin their units.
Anne returned to the states in March 2004, and was promoted to Sergeant in 2005. Using the GI Bill and the Purple Heart tuition waiver available in Arizona, she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology at Arizona State University, and later attended pastry school through the Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Program. During this time, she also worked fulltime and competed in a triathlon.
Over the years since her injury, Anne has experienced many residual effects from the blast including traumatic brain injury (TBI), which have all impacted her career plans. She had dreams of going to medical school, but while she was working on her undergraduate degree, daily migraines and other cognitive challenges proved to be problematic. During a short hiatus, however, she discovered she had a much more creative side, and began baking and designing cakes for fun in her small studio.
In 2011, realizing that cake design was becoming less of a hobby and more of a passionate career pursuit, Anne completed a baking and pastry program at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado. Currently, Anne operates a dessert catering company in her small studio called Colorado Confection Perfection, and plans to open a bakery in Broomfield (Colorado). Her services even allow customers to send specially prepared desserts to loved ones serving in the military overseas.
Anne first learned about Homes For Our Troops in 2012 when she heard about the opportunity to get involved with its home-build project being coordinated for severely injured Veteran, Brian Schar, in nearby Elizabeth, Colorado. A few days after she baked and delivered cupcakes for those volunteering at the construction site, she received an email from Homes For Our Troops about its Home Award Program. Anne immediately applied, and later in March 2013, was awarded a mortgage-free home in Broomfield, Colorado.
Anne feels especially fortunate that her new home is situated near a beautiful trail, ideal for her healthy and active lifestyle, which includes running and hiking. Anne would like to thank Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program for the opportunity of home ownership and the “life-changing” gift that this home represents.