Traveling to the United States many years ago from her native Romania, Gizela Lupescu never dreamed at the time of becoming an American citizen. But all of that changed and many years later, not only is she now an American but serves as a Specialist in the North Carolina National Guard and as an independent contractor working for the Special Forces School at Camp Mackall.

She’s living proof that the American Dream can still exist for some people who are perseverant and never give up hope. She recently acted as an interpreter for the Guard troops who are visiting her native Romania on a multi-nation training exercise.

A native of Romania, Lupescu found the dream in North Carolina after a 16-year wait to become a U.S. citizen.

Now, she serves as a soldier in the North Carolina National Guard and an independent contractor on Fort Bragg training special operations forces.

In recent weeks, her worlds collided when she deployed to her native land as part of a group of North Carolina National Guard troops serving in support of a training exercise there.

Speaking from Romania, Lupescu said her story is a happy one.

“I am on the cusp, if not already found it,” she said of her American dream. “My story is a successful story.”

Lupescu, who lives in Raeford, is a combat medic with the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, part of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team.