(KLFY) From serving her country to serving dinner, a Lafayette wife and mother shares her story of a life of service.

KLFY Remarkable Woman finalist, Army Staff Sergeant Shonda Milton may be tough on the outside, but her compassion exposes a tender, caring heart inside.

Her life is one filled with highs and lows that didn’t define her, even when tragedy struck.

She says she, “Experienced tragedy at a young age.  One of my sons passed away and he would be 19 tomorrow.”

Milton speaks lovingly about the son she lost and the two still with her. She says her strength comes from her family and her military family.  

“If I wouldn’t have those components, my family supporting me, reinforcing what I do, my sorors, my army family, I couldn’t make it, my husband he is very supportive, he doesn’t understand, but he’s supportive,” she said.

And by understand, Staff Sgt. Milton is referring to her call to duty.

Milton says, “It was a calling for me and I feel that I have more impact on the community, the kids in the community for what I do.”

She’s following in the footsteps of her parents, both Vietnam Veterans as well as other family members. The Sgt. notes, “I’ve always aspired to be a soldier. I have an uncle who retired as well and I have two cousins who served so I always aspired to be a soldier, since I was little.”

And that little girl grew up to become a remarkable woman; a wife, mother and soldier dedicated to service. 

Milton says, “I’m not in uniform all the time.  I’m a basketball mom. My son attends Beau Chene High, and I have a son playing in New York on the collegiate level.”

So how does she do it all?  

The soldier says “By the grace of God. I am not a super religious person, but I believe in God and I just feel as though he walks with me a lot of the time.”

Staff Sgt. Milton is a member of the Louisiana National Guard and has served over 20 years. She was deployed to Iraq and continues to serve this country diligently. She has been a rock for so many people.  

If she hears about any children who may go without for Christmas, she’s known to take her own money and bring gifts, food and Christmas cheer.