Guy served in Kirkuk, Iraq, from September 2005 to September 2006, assigned to provide convoy security. She's been working hard ever since to make a comeback in civilian life.

Her life includes common themes for many women vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including overcoming difficulties to build a good family life.

Guy, of Sharon Hill, returned home to Pennsylvania in 2007, when the Army gave her a hardship discharge to take care of her children - a year short of completing a three-year military contract.

Stationed after Iraq at Fort Campbell, Ky., she tried to readjust to being a mother. But Guy's anxiety grew as her marriage cracked. When her unit began preparing to redeploy to Iraq, her husband left. They've been separated ever since.

Guy felt overwhelmed being both a soldier and a mother of four, including one child who has epilepsy.

With little money after her discharge, Guy and her kids moved from their three-bedroom house on the Kentucky base to her parents' two-bedroom home near Chester.

"To go from that to living in the living room of my parents' house was terrible," she says.

Her 10-year-old son, Harrison Guy 3d, missed their Fort Campbell house. "I didn't want to leave," he says. "Home was big."

The veteran - who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder - was haunted by her time driving an armored truck in Iraq in security escorts for the Army's 101st Airborne Division.

"It's funny, because before we pulled out for a convoy we had a test fire," she says. "That kind of revved me up for whatever would happen."

When she returned to the United States, she swapped an armored truck for a Mazda minivan.

"When I was driving I felt like I wasn't protected. . . . There's one part of the highway I drive down, all the buildings on one side of the road are flat," she says.

As she drove past them, she feared a sniper was on top, "waiting for me to pass that spot."

And Guy says Iraq intruded upon her relationship with her kids at first: "I used to be real affectionate with them."

After she returned, she says, "I didn't want to be touched. I couldn't relax. I couldn't go in malls, crowded places. I still have problems with that, but I have to do what I have to do."

She is indeed doing what she must - and then some.

Guy went to Washington in November to speak at a Senate hearing on "Ending Veterans' Homelessness."

A Veterans Affairs vocational rehabilitation program is helping her attend Widener University, where's she earning a nursing degree. Her family recently moved into a rental home in Sharon Hill with the aid of a government program for homeless vets.

"Everybody keeps saying, 'You're doing great.' At the same time, I still struggle with my issues," she says. "I'm still a single parent trying to take care of my kids."

   - Carolyn Davis