Elena McCullough immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was sixteen. On the week of her eighteenth birthday, she joined the Coast Guard.
“When I was 18, my family expected me to be self-sufficient,” she says.
McCullough decided to join the military because of the educational benefits and work experience, but she didn’t join solely for her benefit. She chose the military path for sake of her family as well. “It gives you a venue for you to help your family,” she says. “Helping your family is not a burden. It’s part of who we are.”