Master Sgt. Brianna Hunt is proud of her California roots.
"We have the ocean nearby, the mountains, you have snow. We have a short drive to Yosemite," she said. "Everything that you want is right here in Northern California."
Hunt grew up in Yolo County, graduating from Winters High School in 2000. She has family in Davis and lives near her brother in Brooks.
She knew she'd join the military when at a young age her mother said she had dreamed of serving but never did.
"I love my mom and she's the best," Hunt told FOX40. "So I decided to follow her dream for her and it ended up becoming my dream as well."
Hunt has been a surgical technologist, served in the honor guard, was an operating room flight chief and an interrogator serving the U.S. in the Middle East.
Family helped launch Hunt into the real world, and it was family who led her back home.
"My father was ill and the Air Force supported me to get back here and I was able to spend my dad's last hour with him," Hunt said. "Very grateful to my leaders for taking care of me and my family."
The care that was shown to her, she shows to others -- attending to the needs of homebound seniors, the homeless and struggling veterans.
She's a mentor with the Solano County Veterans Treatment Court, an organization that gives veterans who have been in trouble with the law a second chance.
"When they come back, they stumble. We're there to pick them back up," Hunt said. "We say we're not going to leave anybody behind, we are not going to leave anybody behind."
Hunt has also fostered 26 dogs and cats, and admits she often has a hard time giving them back.
"The majority of the animals that we foster, we keep," she said.
On her family's six acres, three dogs, 13 cats and a horse have a home.
And all of Hunt's work hasn't gone unnoticed. Just last month, Hunt was named California's 4th District's Veteran of the Year.
"I was definitely taken aback. Very humbling," Hunt said. "There most definitely is more to life than just earning a paycheck and going home."
Hunt earns that paycheck teaching airmen how to be great leaders at the Airman Leadership School at Travis Air Force Base -- reinforcing what "service before self" truly means.
"Coming back home to work in my community, it's an honor," she said.
Hunt was also given the Community Action North Bay Active Duty Veteran of the Year Award for her work with the homeless. True to form, Hunt "forgot" to mention that.
Cassandra Webb filed this report.