A Study in Discipline
Soldier, Police Officer, Student, Single Mom, Achiever
Staff Sergeant Mary Jane Middleton is a force to be reckoned with. Not only has she served in the National Guard for 13 years—891st Engineer Battalion—but this single mother of two is also a patrol officer with the Independence, KS, police department. She also recently earned her associate degree in multidisciplinary studies. For many of us, juggling so much would seem like an impossible feat, but 32-year-old Middleton has it down to a science. "It's all about time management," Middleton says. "I work the midnight shift so I can spend time with my kids in the afternoons and evenings." She fits in the rest along the way.
In 2005, upon returning home from a year in Iraq, Middleton set her sights on a career in law enforcement. "After Iraq, I knew my mission in life was to serve," she says. By 2009, after a 2½-year stint as a corrections officer and a year as a Reserve deputy, her dream of becoming a police officer materialized.
She credits the Guard with instilling her with discipline and believes her military training has given her the ability not only to set goals, but also to reach them. "Being a Soldier has made me who I am today," she says. "It has given me stability."
Never one to rest on her laurels, Middleton intends to pursue a law degree while continuing her work as a police officer and Soldier. But first and foremost, she's proud to serve as a role model for her kids. "I want my children to know that, no matter what life throws at you, anything is achievable as long as you set your mind to it."