Editor’s note: All throughout March, 9OYS is showcasing women in the Eastern North Carolina area. It’s part of Nexstar’s Remarkable Women contest. Four finalists have been chosen by WNCT. The finalists will be showcased all month with the winner announced at the end of the month. That winner will advance to the national competition where a winner will be announced later in the year.
NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Liz Hartman started her career in the Marine Corps using her voice as an Arabic linguist.
“I think I always knew the Marine Corps was just a one enlistment or a one tour kind of thing for me,” Hartman said.
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Now in her ninth year since that term ended, she is using her voice as an advocate for veterans. She serves as the commander of American Legion Post 539, overseeing programming for veterans and their families in New Bern.
“Just because you’re out of the Marine Corps doesn’t mean you should stop serving,” Hartman said.
She serves in many ways, like leading a 22-mile hike for veteran suicide awareness, serving on the board of the New Bern Military Alliance and bringing educational resources to Eastern North Carolina.
“The purpose is to recognize our military, thank them for their service and ensure that they know that New Bern loves them every day,” Hartman said.
Hartman also fights for veterans on the national level, working in the nation’s capital, leading up to the passing of the PACT Act, which directly affects veterans impacted by toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
“I was able to work closely with the American Legion staff in DC,” Hartman said.
“It was a tremendous honor to even be in their presence, and then to be able to share the message of what they were doing with your everyday legionnaire,” Hartman said.
Why does she do it? So veterans can have better lives for years to come.
“It’s very important that moving forward veterans understand the risks that are out there and get proper legal representation so that they’re not taken advantage of again,” Hartman said.
So whether she’s volunteering on base or working as a financial advisor for military families, all while supporting her own, Hartman has one mission.
“There should always be someone on the frontlines making sure that veterans are represented and have a voice, and that’s my dream,” Hartman said.