MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Knowing the Marine to the left and right like brothers and being able to count on them is an important part of life in the Corps, but according to the personal and family counselor here, it is secondary to knowing oneself.
That's why Linda Halford stands at the ready, making sure she's always in a position to help out a Marine or his family.
"Knowing who you are helps you to be what you are meant to be. You could be a better spouse, a better military person, whatever you were intended to be," Halford said.
Halford has been a counselor for more than 20 years. She grew up in Albany, but after marrying she moved to a small town about 40 miles away.
She began working here in September, and said it was a great honor to be here. As a patriotic person, she jumped at the chance to work with the military.
Halford has a masters degree in addictions, for cases such as drug or alcohol abuse or anything else that can become a seemingly unbreakable habit, and is a licensed professional counselor. She was proud of the level she had attained, and stressed that education was the key. She said that once she earned a masters degree, her salary tripled.
No matter what stage someone is in life, they could always go to school. When Halford went back, she found a 65-year-old woman working on a degree, which was very inspiring, she said.
"Going back to school was one of the smartest things that I ever did. And I did it with four young children," said Halford, who now has four grandchildren.
With the schooling and more than 20 years of experience behind her, Halford said she looks forward to serving and making a difference here.
"I love to help people, and I love to help people find a way to help themselves," said Halford
Halford pointed out that throughout life, the only person you will always have is yourself, yet so many people go through life without taking the time to learn who that person really is. She said some people are too caught up in everything around them, some people are just scared, and some people are avoiding issues they don't want to face.
But there is a freedom in knowing who you are, and that, she said, is what counseling is all about - helping others find answers that will help them through life.
According to Halford, the most difficult part of the job is the stigma that comes with counseling. Most people think you have to be crazy or sick to see a counselor, when in fact, some of the healthiest people are the ones who are getting therapy because they are actively trying to find answers.
Halford has experience in many areas of counseling and is currently being certified in dealing with people who have trauma.
"We deal with trauma every day. There can be a certain amount of trauma in moving or coming to a base, or having your spouse leave, or some of the things that may happen with your children," she said.
Halford said she was available for anything that anyone needed help with. From test anxiety to abuse, to finding the right road in life, she is there to lean on.