GRAY, GEORGIA: Mitzi Bowman Gillis, age 51, has been in her job at the Robins Air Force Base(RAFB) for 31 years, or she will be there that long on November 7.
Mom to Malori, Mitzi is in human resources in the Aircraft Maintenance Division at the RAFB – it is a job she says she has grown a lot in, “especially in the last few years.”
“I wanted to be an architect when I was young,” Mitzi remembered. “My daddy came home one day, and said you have an interview at the Base. A typical day can be, in short, chaos. I enjoy it a lot, because there is always something different going on.”
She smiled, “I
just strive to make a difference in the lives of the mechanics and
co-workers.” Mitzi is known to be a very passionate person –
about “my job, my friends and my family, especially Malori.”
If there was one thing she wishes she could teach all the world to do or know, Mitzi paused for a moment. She said, “Take more pictures. One day, they will be all that you have left.”
In picking a personal definition of the word, ‘hope,’ Mitzi, who finds singing, crafting, shopping and riding her motorcycle as therapeutic, stated, “Optimistically expecting positive outcome to circumstances and situations you have little to no control over.”
perseverance and determination comes from the foundation that her
parents gave her, especially her dad. “My mom died when I was 25,
and my dad died 25 years later. She had a brain aneurysm and got sick
when I was 15 years old, and rocked my self-centered teenage
“I watched my daddy step up and take care of my mom and raise me, work a full time job and take care of a household while never letting me see how difficult it truly must have been on him. He became my true hero during those years, and the rock that gave me the backbone I have today,” Mitzi said.
She continued, “I became a single mother when Malori was four-years-old. The struggles were many and sometimes crippling. I suffered from a deep depression for a little while when Malori was a teenager, but was able to come out on the other side of that with the assistance of some great people.”
“Then Malori got
so sick at 16 and was hospitalized for weeks at a time a few times in
a two-year period Watching my child suffer hurt me more than
anything ever in my life had. My daddy held me up and encouraged me
when I felt weak, but he showed me my strength and found my backbone
then more than ever,” Mitzi said.
“I researched and fought with doctors that would not listen to me when I knew it was her gallbladder. But all doctors said ‘No, she is too young.’ After two years of Malori being so sick and weak, and eventually becoming so weak she could not walk on her own, I was able to find a doctor to remove her gallbladder, and he confirmed her gallbladder was diseased,” she explained.
Mitzi said, “We were able to get my baby girl’s life back. I learned during that time I had an inner strength that God had given me and I could overcome things with prayer and family.”
She remarked, “The biggest thing I would like others to know is be your own advocate or be one for your family. Ask questions, do your own research, and if you feel it in your gut, do not take no for an answer!”
A favorite motivational quote, or rather in this case Bible scripture, of Mitzi’s is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
Mitzi said, “This scripture hangs in two places in my home. I bought Malori a bracelet with this verse when she was sick and in the hospital.”
“Life is like the ocean, some waves you can ride them out and be a champion. Some waves will wipe you out and leave you breathless. Never give up and never back down.” she concluded passionately.