Major General Linda Singh, commander of the Maryland National Guard, is drawing high marks for her work during a challenging week in Baltimore. But this latest obstacle is nothing compared to some of the others she has overcome in life.
"I ended up being sexually molested by a family member and had to leave home," said Singh.
As a teenager, Singh faced personal battles that no one should endure. The former straight-A student in Frederick, Maryland, wound up unemployed and with no place to live.
"I lived on the streets quite a bit, and I don't think people really understand that," she said.
At 17 years old, Singh turned her life around when she enlisted in the National Guard.
"The military and putting on this uniform really was a change for me," Singh told FOX 5's Tom Fitzgerald.
But while her life changed, her perspective on poverty remained intact. Singh said it helped her understand the poor Baltimore neighbors that the National Guard was called in to protect.
"We did our job, so that's all you could ask for," she said.
For Singh, who pulled herself out of despair, it's a story she hopes will inspire others.
"Putting on this uniform gave me that strength and the fortitude to know that I could be someone else and that I could do something else," Singh said.
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