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My name is Arlena Newson. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and have always wanted to be a writer. I was aware of the challenges being a writer presented so I decided to weigh all of my options. It became a tossup between being an attorney and entering the world of Public Policy.

How did I end up in Inverness, FL? It’s a slightly interesting story. I graduated high school at seventeen and picked a location on the east coast, down south, and on the west coast. Each location was written on a piece of paper and placed on the dartboard. As I stood there, I decided wherever the dart landed was where I would begin my new life.

The east coast won! I moved to Washington, D.C. and began working as a hostess at an Italian restaurant in DuPont Circle. I didn’t realize how expensive the city was and began searching for something a little more financially rewarding. While working as a temp at an investment firm, I was contacted and offered a job as a paralegal/office manager for a Family Law firm in Maryland. In addition to the law firm, I began waiting tables before being moved to a bartender at an Italian restaurant in Bowie, MD. From there, my career began to take flight.

I moved on to a new position as a Senior Paralegal for a Personal Injury Law Firm in Washington, D.C. and after two years, enlisted six years in the United States Air Force. I was a parachute rigger (Aircrew Flight Equipment Craftsman) for the A10. The parachute I packed for training was used in an ejection that saved the pilot, I deployed twice to Afghanistan, volunteered thousands of hours over the course of my career, received two Achievement Medals, a Commendation Medal, numerous squadron awards, and completed my Bachelors in International Relations from American Public University.

A few weeks before my enlistment officially ended, I was offered a position with the Department of Justice as a paralegal specialist. A couple months later, I began working on my Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University Schar School of Public Policy and Government in Arlington, VA. Before I graduated, I was offered an opportunity to begin working in policy for the Department of Defense as a contractor for the Defense Travel Management Office Headquarters. Once that contract ended, I continued working for the Department of Defense and returned to working for the Air Force. This time, I was assisting with the Secretary of the Air Force’s publication reduction initiative.

I bought my first home in Woodbridge, VA, two years later I met the love of my life, and two years after meeting we moved to Inverness, FL. I wanted a change in my environment to something warmer and a little less congested. The long commutes, high taxes in Virginia, and traffic jams were taking a toll on me. That is how I ended up in Inverness, FL. It’s just far enough from the city without feeling as if you are too far from the more populated areas. See, the story was only slightly interesting.

A personal tidbit: I enjoy playing darts since it led me down the current path, playing with my dogs (Dalmatian beagle mix and an Australian Shepard), wine making, wine tasting, baking, and weight lifting. You have to burn off the calories from all the baking and wine tasting.