When Shelia Simpson became a teller at Regions Bank in 2005, she brought a unique experience to the company. At the time, Simpson – a U.S. Army veteran and automated logistical specialist for the Alabama National Guard – had completed her first tour of duty in the Middle East. That gave Simpson a special connection to some of her customers.

“I’d see veterans come into the branch who struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), loss of limb, loss of family relationships,” Simpson said. “It was hard watching people who were wounded while serving their country come back home to limited opportunities or healthcare and to see the devastating effects that could have on their financial lives.”

Simpson was deployed to the Middle East again in 2009. She returned home the following year with a renewed desire to help wounded veterans and honor the lives of service members lost to war.

Since then, Simpson, now a Retail Operations Manager for Regions, has participated in service projects for widows of fallen veterans. She has also sought ways to help veterans who face physical, psychological, and economic challenges when they return from war.

“Injured veterans need help adjusting to their new normal so they can achieve new goals,” Simpson said.

Citing Simpson’s desire to encourage injured service members, Regions Wednesday announced Simpson as the Better Life Award winner for February. The Better Life Award is the top honor given to a Regions associate for outstanding dedication and job performance, as well as exemplary involvement and commitment to the community.

Together with the Better Life Award recognition, Regions donates $1,000 in the name of the recipient to a nonprofit organization of the winner’s choice. Simpson chose Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). WWP is a nonprofit organization that provides free programs and services to address special needs and fill gaps in healthcare for veterans and service members injured on or after September 11, 2001.

“I served with people who had PTSD. Some people have been on several deployments overseas and have difficulties adapting to life back home again,” Simpson said. “I’ve talked to them and listened to their stories. I’m fascinated by their experiences and how proud they are of their service. I want to do my part to help them.”