ST. LOUIS – Juanita Willis grew up across the river in Brooklyn, Illinois, in a large family consisting of five sisters and three brothers.

Longing to get out and explore the world after high school, Juanita knew that joining the military would be her best option. Joining the Army brought her across the globe to places like Germany, Louisiana, and all the way to Korea.

After spending upwards up five years in the military, Juanita decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. Wednesday, Juanita has been a RN for upwards of 22 years and between her busy career juggles being a grandma to her ten grandchildren and being a part-time ordained minister.

Juanita Willis was nominated by Simone Fridge, who shared the passion Willis shows in everything she does.

“She is not only an Army veteran, but she is also a first responder working to serve those she served alongside,” Willis explained. “She has been a RN for 22 years and not only worked in the hospital, but even during her church service to bring one of her church members back to life. Her job as a nurse doesn’t end after her 8-hour shift, she is always a nurse. On more than one occasion while traveling, she saw accidents and didn’t hesitate to pull over and provide assistance. She’s never not in “nurse mode” because it’s not a job to her, but a passion and a ministry. She is an ordained minister of the gospel, and nursing and serving is all she knows.”

Juanita earns $500 from the Brown & Brown Law Firm and our Proud to Serve Award.

If you would like to nominate a first responder, military, or veteran for our Proud to Serve, click here.