MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
When backed into a corner and all odds are against you, what do you do?
As a refuge, some turn to drugs and alcohol and think it is the only escape from the issues they are facing, while others turn to sports and embrace the discipline and structure it has to offer.
Since the third grade, Cpl. Tiffany LeBarre, an administration clerk with Marine Aircraft Group 31, has turned to basketball to add stability and some normalcy to her otherwise different life.
“I started playing basketball when I was young because I wanted to fit in,” LeBarre explained. “I just wanted to be one of the guys, and basketball was a way to do it. I also loved playing.”
At a young age LeBarre bounced from home to home.
“When I was 4, my mother gave me up,” LeBarre said. “My grandparents adopted me, and I ended up moving in with my mother again at about 13 years old.”
LeBarre has overcome the odds and has been able to take care of her children and balance work all on her own.
“She does everything by herself,” said Sgt. Amanda Hicks, the plans noncommissioned officer with MAG-31. “She is the mother and father to her children. She is their everything.”
“I would never trade anything to have a different life,” LeBarre explained. “Without the experiences I have, who knows who I would be now. If I grew up differently I may not even have my children now. They mean the world to me.”
LeBarre has made the All-Marine women’s basketball team for two years straight, where her tough up-bringing translates to aggressive play and productivity.
“I love to play basketball,” LeBarre said. “I have been playing for so long, I can not see how I could let it go, but I find it hard to play now between work and my children.”
As a single mother, she almost missed the opportunity to play for the All-Marine team.
“At first, I didn’t know if I would be able to play given my circumstances,” LeBarre explained. “But I ended up getting a call from Quantico, Va. saying this was an opportunity I should take advantage of and I would be allowed to bring my children.”
According to LeBarre, getting the opportunity meant the world to her. Her teammates all took turns baby-sitting and came together as a family to make the trip possible.
“I’m grateful the team was willing to come together and help me like that, it meant so much,” she said.
The teamwork displayed off the court further shows the unity Marines have when times get hard.
Whether on the court, in the field or at home, LeBarre gives her all to be a great player, an outstanding Marine, positive role model and a mother for her children.