If the U.S. Air Force called tomorrow and asked Laura Bishop to re-enlist, she wouldn't hesitate to board the next plane.
"I loved it. I really loved it," said the mother of two grown daughters.
Looking for adventure and something where she could make a difference, Bishop joined the military at the age of 19 after taking several college courses.
"I remember coming home and telling my mom I was joining the Air Force, and of course that sent her into a tizzy," Bishop said.
Her mother soon calmed down and accepted her oldest daughter's decision to serve her country.
"My mom was always my biggest cheerleader," she said.
Originally from California, Bishop said the Air Force took her places she otherwise never would have seen.
She completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, in January 1983 and graduated from noncommissioned officer leadership school in 1990 in Germany.
"When I was stationed in Alaska was probably my favorite. It was just beautiful there," she said.
It was also in the military that she met her husband, married and had two daughters.
Raising small children while she continued to serve proved difficult at times. There were times when Bishop was stationed in one country and her husband was in another.
"My mom flew to Europe to be with me and help with the babies," Bishop said.
Eventually, the couple made their way back to the states, retired from the military and settled down in Dawsonville.
Bishop served more than 10 years.
She treasures her service and says she would have no qualms returning to the military if she had the opportunity.
"When you go in, you go in apprehensive and unsure of yourself, but you come out standing taller with your head held high," she said.
The strength, confidence and perseverance she gained in the military carried on to her next career.
Bishop was working at a local childcare center in 1997 when she saw a help wanted ad in the paper for 9-1-1 communication officers.
"When they asked me if I could handle stress, I said of course. I was working with 2-year-olds at the time," she said.
She got the job and has worked for the Dawson County Sheriff's office for the last 14 years, rising from 9-1-1 communications to detention, patrol and criminal investigations.
She is now one of two officers assigned to the sheriff's crime suppression division, a team attached to the criminal investigations division that targets common street crime such as thefts.
Bishop said law enforcement, like military service, is a perfect fit for her.
"I think that's why I've worked in every division at the sheriff's office," she said. "I love it."