by Amanda Jainté Shanteé Chaboudy
My recent story is a very happy one. Like most therapists, however, I was drawn to massage because of the suffering I have witnessed in my life, and the amplified desire to help others, and to find happiness in my work and life.
Since Memorial Day has just passed and my story is strongly linked to a Fallen Soldier, I would like to start with her story. Her name was SPC Nichole Marie Frye. Nichole was 19 years old when she was killed in action on February 16, 2004.
I met SPC Nichole Frye February 15, 2004, the day before she passed. She worked Civil Affairs at a desk 20 feet from mine at the Government building in Baquabah, Iraq. We were coming back from chow and we started chatting. I don’t remember specifics but I am sure I was telling her the do’s and dont’s since she was new. We ended up bonding over similar thoughts on hair and nails. We decided to try and have a “sleep over”. I know very girly and not very soldier like. I asked my supervisor if I could stay at the government building and hang out with SPC Frye. I told him that there was a convoy looking for a driver and I could come back in the morning. He said no. At the time, I was irritated that he said no but that decision saved my life. Thank you SGT Davis! SPC Frye, volunteered that next morning to drive in a convoy that was coming to my camp. Nichole was going to hang out with me at Camp Warhorse. I woke up to a massive explosion that next morning. An improvised explosive device had detonated at the front gate. SPC Frye was driving. My unit and the other units in my area of operation had lost soldiers but she was the first female. It changed everyone, especial me. It felt like I went from being surrounded by hundreds of comrades to having hundreds of over protective brothers.
Nichole and I had a lot in common. We both were cheerleaders in high school, both short with brown eyes and brown hair, and we both had loving families waiting for us back home. I wish I would have had more time to get to know her. She was very sweet and fun. All of these things made me realize how precious life is. Since then I make every decision considering that she didn’t get the opportunity. I told myself I can take my life for granted. Her memory deserves better than that. This is why I have 127 credit hours almost 5 different associates degrees. I knew that I needed to live a life doing what make me happy and will offer me the low stress life style I want. After getting my associates degree in Criminal Justice Law Enforcement I began to fill out applications.
For some reason I just couldn’t go through with it. I realized I hadn’t found that career that will make me happy. I knew I wanted to help people. When researching my next move I came across massage. I found Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. I am so glad I did! The instructors, the curriculum, and my fellow students were amazing. I had such a wonderful experience. I felt like my class became my family. When you walked in everyone would greet you. It was like walking into your living room full of your family. I never felt judged. I always felt excepted for who I am. It made for a very productive learning environment. It was really great to create such wonderful long-lasting relationships. I graduated in February 2014 and I am now employed at Mecca Gym and Spa.
Looking for a job was relatively easy. I got accepted at the first place I applied too. I feel very lucky to be working at such a great place and I know that without my training at the school I would not have been able to get hired there. Mecca Gym and Spa typically doesn’t hire massage therapist that don’t have several years experience. While Lauterstein-Conway Massage School offers a very specific curriculum, it’s consistency and quality of the training allows for there to be a positive expectation on what you are capable as a graduated from there. I think that employers like to know what they are getting in a therapist.
Once I started working at Mecca Gym and Spa my technique and style of massage, even after such a short period of time, has developed in a style that is unique to me but that is supported by the knowledge and support from Lauterstein-Conway Massage school.
It has taken me until the age of 31 to find my career. It’s been a long journey. Thank you SPC Nichole Frye for your sacrifice. Thank you to the support of my friends and family, and thank you to Lauterstein-Conway Massage School!