ARVets Stories: Rosyna Stewart
The Outstanding Veteran Family Award recipients for the 2014 Salute Gala were Staff Sergeant Rosyna Stewart and her three children.
Between the ups and downs of deployments and daily life, Veteran families often have to overcome many obstacles. According to Defense Department statistics, over the last five years, the active-duty military includes nearly 73,000 single parents, which is a little over five percent of the total force.
The Army leads the way with more than 35,000 single parents and, according to a 2009 report by nonpartisan nonprofit organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, nearly 30,000 single mothers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years to carry out missions.
Staff Sergeant Rosyna Stewart, the 2014 recipient of the Salute Gala’s Outstanding Veteran Family Award, knows firsthand the aforementioned statistics. Stewart is a single mother and veteran, who works every day to make sure her children have a good life.
Staff Sergeant Stewart was born and raised in North Little Rock. She had her first child in the 11th grade and after graduating North Little Rock High School she had to give up a cheerleading scholarship to University of Arkansas – Fayetteville to take care of her family.
As a young mother, Stewart faced many obstacles. Child care was expensive and it was difficult to make ends meet. She even endured an abusive marriage for several years.
After giving birth to her third child, Stewart went to work for UAMS and she later joined the Army National Guard in 2006. She had to leave her children with her mother when she deployed to Tallil, Iraq from 2007 -2008.
While in Iraq, Stewart served as a medic and a patient administrator. She processed paperwork and assessed the needs of over 6,000 soldiers and coalition troops. Stewart says her time in Iraq gave her a new appreciation for life and taught her that she had the strength to do anything.
Staff Sergeant Rosyna Stewart has been a single parent since 2006, she admits raising children can be difficult, but her children bring her joy and keep her going. Stewart’s oldest son is 18- years old, has Asperger’s Syndrome, and can be a challenge due to his personality struggles. Her second son tried to commit suicide and everyday she does her best to remind him that his life has meaning. Her daughter is outgoing and doing well in school.
Always committed to family and community, Stewart is now a part of the Honor Guard for the Arkansas National Guard and she works with the Family Readiness Group at the Professional Education Center on Camp Robinson. Stewart says she is an open book and knows that her story can make a difference in other people’s lives. ARVets salutes Staff Sergeant Rosyna Stewart for her service and sacrifice.