US Army National Guard, 2008-2016
Lacy Spurgeon arrived in the world in August 1985, joining her older sisters Valerie and Jolene. Life would take her from Toledo, Wauseon, Fremont and finally Old Fort where she graduated with 44 other students from Old Fort high school in 2003. Lacy had been a good student and had represented her school on the volleyball and softball teams.
She graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2007 with a degree in Middle Childhood Education. Wanting new adventures and a change of scenery, Lacy accepted a teaching offer in Lexington, South Carolina teaching eighth grade Math. The school served a very rural area, and acclimating to the culture and people, was a bit of a shock to this brand-new teacher. Sixty-five percent of her students were extremely poor with many parents uncaring or involved in their lives. Many students had to ride buses, 30 to 40 minutes, to arrive at school in Saluda. In addition to teaching, Lacy also was tasked with coaching Volleyball at the local high school.
Lacy continued her personal education, during this time, completing her Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning with Technology, from Ashford University in 2008. Planning on staying in the area, Lacy purchased a home and established roots. At this point joining the military had never crossed her mind, even though both her grandfathers had served in WWII as well as having two uncles who also served in the military.
Lacy would be drawn to the Army as she had dreams of becoming a police officer, and thought military police training would help. She enlisted in the South Carolina Army National Guard in 2008 joining the 132nd Military Police Company. She was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri for Basic Combat Training and AIT, which she completed June 2009.
Due to her education, Lacy entered the military as an E-4 (Specialist), which did not make her exactly popular with the drill sergeants or other soldiers. She enjoyed her training, though learning discipline and routine was tough as it was never previously a part of her life. One fourth of the soldiers in her MP class of 200, (4 platoons) were female but they were treated equal with the men. Lacy liked the training, especially classes on Investigation and learning to fire the Beretta 9mm and the M-16.
Upon returning to her National Guard unit, Lacy volunteered in 2009 for a 30-day assignment, as part of a detail, providing security for American contractors in Cairo, Egypt. For the most part, it was an interesting and enjoyable assignment with her team staying in hotels and being able to wear civilian clothing. The most vivid memory of this trip, however, is being sexually assaulted by a team member she trusted and considered a friend.
In November of 2009 Lacy was accepted into the State Police Academy in Columbia, SC. After graduating, Lacy was hired onto the Cayce Police Department as a patrol officer. She was assigned to the night shift, and it was during this time her first signs of PTSD began to emerge. Lacy was physically injured in 2011, during training, when she fell while boarding a Humvee and landed on her back. This would be the beginning of the end of her military career. She returned to Ohio, transferring to the Ohio Army National Guard 323rd MP unit, in 2012.
Lacy’s experience is not typical nor is it unusual. When she finally reported her assault and its PTSD effects, she was met with denial, speculation and hostility from ranking female NCO’s. Her back injuries had progressed to the point where it was now difficult for her to walk and doctors assigned her to bedrest. Despite psychological evaluations and numerous medical assessments, all that validated her claims of PTSD and back issues, Sergeant Lacy Spurgeon was given a honorable/medical discharge in 2016 with denial to her PTSD claims, but confirming her back injury claim.
Back in the civilian world, Lacy attempted to be a substitute teacher but the PTSD progressed to the point of her being non-functioning. Eventually, after many tests and doctors, Lacy received a 100% disability rating from the VA. (Lacy has had a back surgery through the VA to repair damage from her injury. She has also had three hip surgeries to her left hip due to her military service.)
Lacy went to many sessions of therapy to help with the PTSD, however what eventually turned Lacy’s life around was sitting in a group with her mom and friends who regularly made quilts to give to a non-profit group. Lacy found it very therapeutic to create quilts. It became a dream of hers to open a quilt shop and provide classes to teach other vets to quilt and “heal.”
Lacy did some research and found there were no quilt shops to service a five-county area. She wanted to open a quilt store to hire veterans. She benefitted from the Semper Fi Fund, which provided funding and mentoring. She did training through the EBV (Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans). After her application was accepted, she was sent to a nine day in class training in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon completion of her training, Lacy received a $20,000 grant in 2017, which enabled her to rent a space and purchase inventory for her quilt shop, located in Wauseon, Ohio.
She named her new adventure, “Freedom Bound Quilt Shop, created a website, purchased inventory and opened her shop in October 2017. Lacy is joined in her venture with her business partner, Annie Reynolds. Their long-term goals include buying their own “brick and mortar” building and eventually open a factory which will manufacture fabric and employ veterans.