U.S. Air Force 1981–1985
Debra Freed joined the Air Force in 1981 to do something new and for a chance to travel. She became a jet engine mechanic and was stationed in Japan when two falls seriously injured her back. She completed her tour of duty and was honorably discharged in 1985, but her injuries eventually confined her to a wheelchair. Freed has become an advocate for fellow veterans seeking medical care. She is currently the executive director of the New England chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.