USA Cares

Ashanti Milow

After 20 years, 2 months and 15 days, retired US Army Major Ashanti Milow said goodbye to the service and found herself, in a way, right where she started her military career.

“This is a full circle moment for me,” Ashanti said from her JROTC classroom at North Hardin High School.

Ashanti spent all four years of high school in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps before completing Army ROTC in college. Now, she is a JROTC instructor at the same high school her daughter attends.

“It’s important that I can pour into these young cadets, these female students, as someone did for me all those many years ago,” Ashanti said.

Most would understand if Ashanti’s feelings about her time in the military had soured over the last year. After retiring in October 2023, Ashanti had trouble finding a job. Her experience as a Signal Officer didn’t immediately translate to civilian work. Meanwhile, Ashanti’s retirement checks and VA rating stalled.

“It was just taking a while,” Ashanti said. “You just have to wait for all the money to come through and get cleared to ensure that I didn’t owe any debt to the military.”

Ashanti was already late on November’s rent and was quickly running out of money to take care of her household, which included both her daughter and elderly mother. 

That’s when a friend suggested USA Cares.

“The only thing that I really knew about USA Cares was through the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program where they came and talked about the job opportunities, and resume writing, and the cohorts and everything for the internship,” Ashanti said. “I didn’t know there was another side of it.”

After filling out the application and submitting required documents, Ashanti’s case was approved for assistance. Along with paying her rent, USA Cares mailed food and gas cards to Ashanti and her family. It was enough to keep the family safe and housed until Ashanti found her job at the school and her payments were no longer delayed.

Now she has a message for her fellow veterans.

“It does not matter what your rank was when you were in the military, whether you were a private or you were a general,” Ashanti said. “We all need help at one point, you know, in our lives. Don’t be afraid to put your pride aside.”