Orange City resident Kimber Boonmast and DeLandite Lauren Shaw have been friends since the two met in 2004 at DeLand High School.
They went through high school together, and after Boonmast enlisted in the U.S. Navy when she graduated from DHS in 2007, she convinced her best friend to enlist, too.
Now, with more than 20 years of military service between the two women, Boonmast and Shaw were able to share another part of their journey when Boonmast re-enlisted her best friend into the Navy during a small ceremony Oct. 22.
“To be asked to re-enlist my best friend of 18 years was an absolute honor,” Boonmast said. “We have encouraged and supported each other through our naval careers, college degrees, motherhood and marriage.”
The two have had full careers, not just in the Navy, but outside of it, too. Boonmast has served 10 years in the Navy, and Shaw 14. They’ve also both used the GI Bill to pursue college degrees — Boonmast a master’s degree in nursing and Shaw a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Shaw plans to go back to school to get a master’s degree, too.
“We both served as active-duty members and then returned as Navy reservists to be closer to home with our small children,” Boonmast said. “This was her [Shaw’s] last enlistment before becoming eligible for retirement, so essentially I was there to guide her into the Navy and now on her way out.”
The re-enlistment ceremony was a small affair, open to friends and family of Boonmast and Shaw. Shaw brought along her three daughters, Lorilynn, Livia and Leighton Shaw, and the two invited some other close friends they grew up with.
“A few of the friends present were friends from high school who also served on active duty from various branches, and were in the area for our 15-year high-school reunion and wanted to show their military support,” Boonmast said. “Being a military member at any point in your life bonds you with others. It is like an unspoken family; we will do anything for each other, always.”
For Shaw, it was a big deal for her close friend to still be playing a role in her military career, even all these years later.
“It is an honor to have her play a big role in my final re-enlistment,” Shaw said.