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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | May 27, 2008

Operation Life Transformed awards spouse with education, career

By Pacifica Chehy Capital Flyer staff writer

Operation Life Transformed recently awarded a scholarship to Chewan Watson, wife of Master Sgt. John Watson, 89th Communications Squadron site chief at the Davidsonville Transmitter Site. A charitable organization founded in February 2007, OTL provides funding for online training programs for home-based and portable careers. The scholarships go mainly to caregivers of wounded veterans and active duty military spouses.

Mrs. Watson's OTL grant means much more than a just a certificate or funding for an education--for her, it means a future career and her being able to help her husband provide for the family.

Mrs. Watson's primary role has been home schooling sons Christopher, 14, and Jordan, 4, and full-time mom to David, 19 months and Briana, 6 months. Because of Christopher's learning disability, Mrs. Watson felt the need to get back to work to finance his education.

Thanks to OLT, in her new career as a medical transcriptionist, Mrs. Watson will be able to help support her family and still work from home.

"I found out about the OLT program in an Airman and Family Readiness Center newsletter article," said Mrs. Watson. "My husband was deployed to Iraq at the time and our circumstances were such that I needed to go back to work to help with education costs for our children. I'm so glad I found out about this program--it's such a blessing to our family."

"At Operation Life Transformed, we work to fill the gaps in veteran care related to family economic recovery," said Tania Mercurio, OLT co-founder. "We know the suffering of the wounded--but also recognize the unique employment needs of their caregivers who are struggling every day to make ends meet as they transform shattered lives into productive units again."

OLT offers more than a dozen online training programs ranging from medical and accounting to computer-related positions. Currently over 50 students are enrolled in training programs nationwide and OLT has a goal to enroll 300 by the end of the year. "We have so far had a 100 percent success rate on spouses employed upon graduation in their chosen career fields," said Mrs. Mercurio, adding that the success rate is measured by job placement.

OLT was awarded the 2007 Fisher House-Newman's Own Grant for its commitment and innovation within the military community. For more information, visit or email Mrs. Mercurio at