EMPORIA (KSNT) – Born and raised in Emporia, Sarah Mckernan found the service at just the right time in her life. What started with medical care a city over, led the Kansan to make an impact overseas during Desert Shield and Storm.

“I was finishing up high school,” Mckernan said, “trying to think about ‘what am I gonna do’ ‘what does my future hold?’. I had a friend who was thinking about enlisting in the army, she had a conversation with me and I thought you know what that’s what I ought to do too.”

From there, Mckernan would enlist in the Army Reserves.  

“I went in to the 410th evac hospital, which was stationed at the time in Topeka,” she said. “I went in as a medical supply specialist, where we would just requisition, receive inventory all medical supplies.”

Traveling down the road from her hometown wouldn’t last long though.  

“It was over a little over a year later that unit got activated for Desert Shield, Desert Storm,” Mckernan said. “My unit went to Ft. Riley initially, then deployed to Saudi Arabia for a handful of months.” 

Her experience working in medical supply helped accumulate well to the roles and responsibilities she had overseas.

“It was really like a normal day,” She said, “get up, we had this tent setup that’s where we did our work. It was really just doing a job of making sure the hospital had the supplies they needed, that the pharmacy had the items they needed – because we housed all of those things.”

Reflecting on her service, the lessons Sarah learned through her time with the Army really helped shape the Emporia native.

“I learned that I could do a lot more than I ever thought I could,” Mckernan said. “I learned a lot about myself in that way, just in terms of you’re stronger than you think you are. I probably learned that even through the training you know that I’m physically stronger. I had a lot of growth psychically, emotionally, and mentally.”   

After returning stateside, she continued driving back and forth to Topeka until she finished her time with the military.

Sarah went on to finish her degree at Emporia State University, and is still loving and living life in her hometown.