#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Andrea Winterburn, Nevada

To an 18-year-old bored with life, the glamour and easy money of working in Nevada’s casinos can be irresistible. The shimmer quickly dulled for Andrea Winterburn when the lifestyle degraded to alcohol addiction.

“By the time I reached 24, I was exhausted,” said Winterburn. “I sought treatment for my problem and found a fellowship of people who understand.”

Motivated to a better life, she began working toward a degree in health care. Marriage and motherhood changed her focus.

“In those six years of marriage, I sacrificed all but my sobriety,” said Winterburn. “I left the abusive relationship broke and still uneducated. I had no idea how I would succeed with a small child and little support. I knew I had to return to school if I ever wanted more than the gambling halls. Moreover, I realized it was my responsibility to make a better life for myself.”

Nervous and fearful, Winterburn took a math class at her local community college. Three years later, she’s completed the prerequisites for nursing school. She and her daughter encourage each other daily.

“Balancing motherhood, school, and sobriety has been one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced,” said the 40-year-old. “There were many times I wanted to give up and quit. Thankfully, I knew deep down inside that I had to keep going.”

Winterburn will use the $1,000 scholarship for tuition at Truckee Meadows Community College.

She would like to work at the veteran’s hospital after she graduates.

“The hardships, some real and some self-imposed, have taught me to be more understanding and compassionate. My life experiences have helped me grow spiritually and make peace with the past.”

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