In just two years Central Coast local Ashleigh Deguara lost 35kg, joined the Australian Army, and is now in Afghanistan protecting other soldiers as a Guardian Angel.
Guardian Angels are the Force Protection Element that watches over trainers, mentors and advisers working in Afghanistan, keeping them safe from potential threats.
Private Deguara said it had been a whirlwind couple of years since she was living in Gorokan employed as a service adviser at a truck automotive store.
"Working in the public service side is something I’ve always wanted to do but never thought I could," Private Deguara said.
“I weighed 105kgs in 2018, I lost about 35kg then changed careers and joined the ADF.
Private Deguara said she was ready for a different career and wanted a lifestyle change.
"When I lost the weight I wanted a big challenge and also wanted to do something for my country and for the next generations to come," she said.
"I’ve completely changed for the better and I’m doing things I never thought I would be capable of.”
Private Deguara said she was grateful for the opportunity to deploy to the Middle East and enjoyed helping others.
"This is my first deployment, it’s nothing like what I do back in Australia. I work in an equipment store attached to an infantry unit," she said.
"Here, I’m doing an infantry role, which is an amazing experience.
“Working with different nations is definitely something I’ll never forget. I’ve learnt some new skills and learnt to work in a different environment.
"It is one of the best experiences of my life, I will never forget it."
Operation Highroad is the ADF's commitment to Afghanistan. Australia remains committed to a stable and secure Afghanistan and continues to support the NATO-led train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support, which has replaced the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission.