AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – Penelope Thurber joined the Army in 1973, during the Vietnam war. But she wasn’t done blazing trails. Her latest accomplishment? Graduating from college at age 67.

Her perseverance and determination have earned her the title of FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month.

After a traumatic childhood that included the death of both of her parents from gun violence, she turned to the military. Over the next decade, she worked as a combat medic, traveling the world from Germany to South Korea. When she was told she was too small to carry out her military assignment, she hit the gym, taking up powerlifting.

“I deadlifted 301 pounds,” Thurber told FOX31. “You know, I’m like 97 pounds, 5 foot 4, you know. And you know, I still have kind of muscles,” Thurber joked as she flexed her muscles.

‘Invest in yourself’

You could stop right there and her story would still be amazing. But her life kept changing course. She raised a family, became a stay-at-home mom. A few years later, she decided it was finally time to achieve a life goal: graduating from college.

Last year, she walked the stage with the other students at Metropolitan State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

“Oh gosh, I’m telling you I was I was really excited,” Thurber told FOX31.

She was among the oldest students to graduate – even older than her teachers. But the framed diploma she hangs on her wall is proof you’re never too old to accomplish your dreams.

“Invest in yourself. No one is going to invest in you. No one invested in me. Who’s going to invest in an old lady going to college?” Thurber said.

Nominate a Hero of the Month

Along with a plaque, Thurber gets a $500 Visa gift card from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors, Plumbline ServicesFord and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

To nominate a veteran, active-duty service member, military family member or volunteer for our Hero of the Month honors, visit the nomination page.