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Female Ranger headlines fundraiser for Colorado Springs military charity

By TOM ROEDER | The Gazette (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 23, 2016

One of three women to complete the Army's elite Ranger school last year headlined an annual fundraiser for Colorado Springs military charity The Home Front Cares.

The Oct. 14 gala drew nearly 1,000 people to The Broadmoor's International Center, where they were told that the 13-year-old charity is seeing more need than ever.

"The Home Front Cares really has one mission, and that is to pay off the bills of people in the hurt locker," said the charity's chairman, Andy Cain.

Last year, Hone Front handed out $450,000 to cover rent, utilities and other needs for troops, military families and veterans in Colorado.

"We are able to offer hope to everyone who comes through our door," Cain said.

The dinner speaker, Army Reserve Maj. Lisa Jaster, spoke about the challenges she faces as a military spouse, mother of two and trainee in the Army's most notoriously tough program.

Ranger school focuses on challenging soldiers with lack of sleep and little food as they take on battlefield tasks including long marches and mock ambushes. The course is designed to last two months. Jaster, like many soldiers, had to repeat three sections of the course and finished in five months.

Jaster signed up for the Ranger school last year after the service opened the training to women. Of the 19 women who started the course, Jaster, Fort Carson Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest earned the coveted Ranger tab.

She said she endured long months in the course by focusing on her goals.

The 37-year-old said she had a quick comeback for younger, male soldiers who whined about the adversity.

"I'm old enough to be your mother, I've been here nine weeks. Shut up," she told them.

Jaster, who serves one weekend a month and two weeks a year as a reservist, said completing Ranger school made her better at her civilian job as a Shell Oil engineer in Texas. She said she's also a better mother.

She said one question from one of her children showed her that Ranger school was worth its physical toll.

"Hey mom," he daughter asked. "Can boys be Rangers, too?"

(c) 2016 The Gazette. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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