Local Hairdresser Was On Mission To Join Military - New York News

Local Hairdresser Was On Mission To Join Military

Posted: Updated:
  • Local Hairdresser Was On Mission To Join MilitaryMore>>

  • Video Replay: 'FOX 29 Salutes The Military'

    Video Replay: 'FOX 29 Salutes The Military'

    Watch video clips from Friday morning's "FOX 29 Salutes the Military" event outside our Old City studios as we paid tribute to our service men and women for their dedication and sacrifice.
    Watch video clips from Friday morning's "FOX 29 Salutes the Military" event outside our Old City studios as we paid tribute to our service men and women for their dedication and sacrifice.
PHILADELPHIA -

This is the story of one of the newest members of the 82nd Airborne, a local soldier.

FOX 29's Steve Keeley shows us how the Army and the person have both really changed.

A King of Prussia Mall hair salon and a military recruiting office in North Philly don't have too much in common, except for Christina Gibson.

"I wanted to join the military," she says.

She was cutting hair and was not cut out for military at first sight.

"A little overweight, a little obese, you know?" the recruiter said.

"A little overweight or a lot?" Keeley asked him.

"It was a lot," the recruiter answered.

"So, you're a hairdresser in the King of Prussia Mall, and then one day you go, 'The heck with this, I'm going into the military?'" Keeley asked Gibson.

"Pretty much, yep," she said, laughing.

"Did you think first time you saw her would you ever see her again?" Keeley asked the recruiter.

"No, no, not at all," he answered.

The problem was her weight.

"She was overweight. She was very obese, very obese," the recruiter said.

Not only that, she was married and a mom to a little girl – nowhere near the typical teenage recruit coming through the recruitment office.

And if the recruiter had his doubts, imagine everybody back at the salon.

"I don't really think that they believed me at first," Gibson said. "But, the more I started working out, kept talking about it, the more they believed me."

At the salon, as the weight started quickly coming off, her clients started worrying who was going to do their hair if she kept at it.

"They thought I was nuts. My customers were like. 'Where are you going to go to? We'll follow you anywhere.' And I was like, 'Trust me, you don't want to follow me where I'm going,'" Gibson said.

The recruiter said, "At first, I thought it was is a one-day dream. And then, about two weeks later when she came back in, she said, 'I lost 14 pounds.' And I was like, 'In two weeks?'"

And the weeks, and weight, kept going.

"I lost about 65 pounds to be able to join military," Gibson said.

To which the recruiter said, "That's a lot of weight. That's a lot of weight."

It was in just three months, putting her in top condition to be tops in her boot camp, beating all the women, and most of the men, too, in runs, strength and agility exercises before going on to ace Airborne School, where she became a paratrooper – all of it in less than the past year.

"I was just sick of, like, being a hairdresser. I worked all weekend, every weekend, all of the holidays," Gibson said. "And I was just sick of working that much and having like no retirement, no benefits. And I just said, 'I want a career.'"

That is not eye shadow over her right eye. It's what is left of the black eye getting clocked on her way out have the plane on her very first jump.

"I jumped out of the airplane, and the risers caught my eye. So, I have my little souvenir from Airborne School," Gibson said.

And jumping careers from hairdresser to paratrooper never crossed her mind up there.

"You didn't have much time to think, did you?" Keeley asked.

"No, you don't have time to think about it," she said. "By the time you have time to be scared, you're already out the plane, and your chute is opened and you're not afraid anymore."

"But you did have time to think when you're in the plane and taking off. Did you just think, 'I could be doing some lady's hair right now at the KOP Mall?'" Keeley asked.

Gibson said, "No, I didn't think that. I was looking forward to it. I'm a thrill-seeker. So, jumping out of planes kind of suited me."

As the recruiter put it, "Some people, you know, they have a calling. And some people don't. And hers was her calling, and she felt at that time it was something for her to do."

Gibson's husband, a corporate manager at Subway, got transferred to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, home base to the 82nd Airborne. Her daughter is now in school there. Her body, her life and her calling are all different now.

"It's a lot different though," she said. "I'm used to wearing makeup and girlie-girl clothes, and now I don't have any of that. But I still get girly on my days off, so it is OK," she said.

Gibson plans to make the Army not just a quick in-and-out for her own good but a permanent, 30-year career.

She has lost a lot of weight but none of the desire to be one of the U.S. Army's best – a Philly girl now ready to go wherever the Army needs her.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Suspect Identified In Darby Wellness Center Shooting

    Suspect Identified In Darby Wellness Center Shooting

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:48:28 GMT
    We are following breaking news in Darby, Pa. where one female employee is dead and two are wounded in a shooting at the Wellness Center on the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus.
    We are following breaking news in Darby, Pa. where one female employee is dead and two are wounded in a shooting at the Wellness Center on the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus.

  • Blind Horse Gets New Hope And Restored Vision In One Eye

    Blind Horse Gets New Hope And Restored Vision In One Eye

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:41:34 GMT
    A blind draft horse will live to see retirement, thanks to surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania’s new Bolton center in Kennett square.
    A blind draft horse will live to see retirement, thanks to surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania’s new Bolton center in Kennett square.
  • 14 Men Arrested In Child Pornography Sweep

    14 Men Arrested In Child Pornography Sweep

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:57:31 GMT
    A big child pornography sweep has caught 14 men, including two school bus drivers and a man who prosecutors say blackmailed a girl to strip on a webcam.
    A big child pornography sweep has caught 14 men, including two school bus drivers and a man who prosecutors say blackmailed a girl to strip on a webcam.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suffolk County jail warden is highest-paid muni worker in NY

    Suffolk County jail warden is highest-paid muni worker in NY

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:48:14 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    The Empire Center for Public Policy reports 1,803 local government employees outside of New York City have been paid more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $179,000 salary in the past year. The report from the fiscally conservative group for the year ending March 31 shows 47 of the 50 highest-paid municipal employees working for police departments or sheriff's offices and each taking home more than $250,000.
    The Empire Center for Public Policy reports 1,803 local government employees outside of New York City have been paid more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $179,000 salary in the past year. The report from the fiscally conservative group for the year ending March 31 shows 47 of the 50 highest-paid municipal employees working for police departments or sheriff's offices and each taking home more than $250,000.
  • Manhattan nursery school's sanitizing machine keeps air clean

    Manhattan nursery school's sanitizing machine keeps air clean

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:47:17 GMT
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
  • NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:54:18 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices