TOPEKA (KSNT) – For Brandy Ruby, her time in the Army took her where very few have been before. With most of her time spent in the service taking place overseas in South and North Korea.

Brandy’s enthusiasm to join the service was strong even from an early age, she signed up for the military before hitting 18 years old.

“I graduated in May, my birthday was in July, I wanted to go ahead and hit the road,” Ruby said. “I didn’t want to stick around for a couple more months. I just thought why wait, why not just go.”

Brandy joined the military looking for a challenge, and found herself traveling further than she ever imagined.

“I went in and I decided to be a heavy wheel mechanic,” Ruby said,” then I went to South Korea for a while.” 

Overseas, she worked on 5-tonne or higher vehicles. Changing tires, batteries, alternators and more, her 3 crewmates in the motor pool originally underestimated her ability, because of her size.

“Getting in and changing the tire, and the tire being as tall as I was,” Ruby said. “It was fun to prove them wrong. I think that’s what I needed as somebody who was young. I needed to go in and prove myself to the world and show people what I could do and what I was made of.”

She would have the chance to prove herself, when her team was sent to the demilitarized zone in North Korea.

“At the time, that was about 20 years ago, it was a really controlled setting,” Ruby said. “Seeing a different way, a different type of government, the whole thing, the whole experience was really eye opening. Because you’re like oh, that’s very different than what we know.” 

Reflecting on what the act of serving means to her, Brandy focuses on the importance of giving back.

“For me it really was a part of growing up,” Ruby said. “Giving back to America the way it’s given to me, I feel safe and secure being an American.” 

Brandy went into education following her time in the military. Graduating from Washburn University in Topeka, and working in the local 501 district as an instructional coach.