From Amish to Air Force
Katie Troyer Shares Her Story
Katie Troyer grew up in an Amish family with eleven siblings, moving from Gladwin to Clare when she was two-years-old.
“I was raised on the eighty acre farm that my parents bought from their parents, and it’s where I learned to grow and make our food and to make our clothes,” shared Katie. “We didn’t have electricity, so we used a wood stove for baking and cooking, a windmill to pump our water, and kerosene lamps for lighting.”
Katie was educated through the eighth grade at her community’s school, focusing primarily on arithmetic and learning to read, write, and speak English. Until the first grade, Katie had exclusively spoken Pennsylvania German.
At 20-years-old, Katie chose to leave her community and pursue a different path. The local courthouse provided her with a copy of her birth certificate so that she could apply for a social security number and find employment.
“Within a week, I had a job at Cops & Doughnuts in Clare, and I worked there for the next five years,” Katie explained. “After three months, I learned to drive a car so that I could successfully pass a driver’s license certification test.”
It took a year of study and preparation for Katie to successfully gain her General Equivalency Diploma (GED). With a great deal of encouragement and support from her Cops & Doughnuts family, Katie then took the next step and enrolled in classes at Mid.
“All forms of public education were foreign to me. I had never even written an essay before,” shared Katie. “But, I was determined. And people at Mid became like another family to me—everyone was super friendly and willing to help me and answer any questions that I had.”
"You save tons of money on a great education at Mid, and receive the additional benefit of having smaller classes and more personal attention and support every step of the way."
Chris Stanton, Mid’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator, played a particularly significant role in Katie’s transformational journey.
“Katie came into the campus Veteran Resource Center to talk with me about a possible future in the armed forces,” explained Stanton. “She had spoken to a number of military recruiters, and she wanted to clear up fact from fiction and get some perspective on which branch might be the best fit for her. Some of the other veterans on campus and I shared with her our own experiences, and we eventually determined that the Air Force would be her best option.”
Katie enlisted in the US Air Force and shipped out for basic training in May of 2017, four days after she graduated with her associate degree. After successfully completing her training, Katie entered the Security Forces Academy. In October, she headed to Aviano, Italy to serve on her first assignment.
“All of us are really proud of Katie,” remarked Alan White, co-founder and owner of Cops & Doughnuts Bakery. “But, we’re not surprised at her success. After all, she has the energy of an army jeep stuck on full throttle.”
“I couldn’t have gotten where I am today without the support of the tight-knit ‘families’ at Cops & Doughnuts and Mid,” Katie shared. “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m grateful for the journey that brought me here.”