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Evans City flight nurse honored for service

From left, Gen. Maureen Weigl, state adjutant general for veterans affairs; Ashley Stough, an Air Force flight nurse from Evans City, and Gen. Laura McHugh celebrate Stough being honored for her military service March 31 in Harrisburg. Stough was one of 21 female veterans and service members in Pennsylvania who was honored with a certificate from Gov. Tom Wolf and Frances Wolf, first lady, for her military service. Submitted Photo
She is 3rd female in her family to serve

An Air Force flight nurse from Evans City, who is working on her master’s degree, was among the 21 female veterans or active duty military to be honored by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.

A ceremony was March 31 in Harrisburg to recognize the women, who were chosen for commendation from 150 nominees.

Among those to receive a certificate signed by Gov. Tom Wolf and first lady Frances Wolf was Capt. Ashley Stough of Evans City, who is the third woman in her family to serve in the military.

Commissioned into the Air Force in 2016, Stough continues her active service as a flight nurse, having deployed to Germany and the Middle East.

Stough has been awarded 17 Air Force medals and awards for her service, including the Air Medal and the Aerial Achievement Medal.

She called the certificate awarded by the state Commission for Women a humbling experience.

“I believe I was one of the youngest females there and to listen to those other biographies and experiences and what these women have done and contributed and continue to contribute, I still have no idea how my service and accomplishments right now got me chosen,” Stough said.

She was nominated for the honor by her mother, Lt. Col. Susan Oliver-Stough, U.S. Army, retired, who also swore Ashley into the Air Force in 2016.

“She’s very proud and she cries just about every time she has to discuss it,” Stough said of her mother’s feelings on her daughter’s service. “She did not deploy in her career, and I’m the youngest of two girls and I deployed twice, so I think it’s been very humbling and surreal to her.”

A great-great aunt also served in the Army Nurse Corps, she said.

Stough, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Robert Morris University in 2010 and is working on her master’s degree at Duquesne University, joined the military because she wanted to do have a greater impact with her chosen career.

“Something more big-picture than what I was doing on the civilian side,” Stough said.

She also wanted to pursue a different side of nursing than she was experiencing in civilian life.

“I wanted to fly,” Stough said. “I wanted to be in the air, so now I’m a flight nurse in the back of a plane.”

Stough said Wolf and his wife were scheduled to award the certificates March 3, but instead attended the funeral services for two state policemen recently killed in the line of duty.

Frances Wolf said in a news release that she and the governor are deeply grateful for and inspired by the strength, resilience and pride of the women who were celebrated.

“These valiant leaders have made great sacrifices to protect our commonwealth, our country and our freedoms,” she said. “It is important that we elevate their stories and accomplishments to express our appreciation and encourage the next generation of military women.”

Maureen Weigl, state deputy adjutant general for veterans affairs, said women now make up 16% of the U.S. Armed Forces and more than 65,000 female veterans and service members call Pennsylvania home.

“It is truly an honor to recognize these amazing military service women and celebrate their careers,” Weigl said. “Women in the military continue to push boundaries because of the service of the women we honor today and women that served in every generation.”

Stough said she is proud to be counted among the female service members and veterans recognized.

“It’s great that we are recognizing women in the service, and I’m very proud to be a part of that,” she said.