The Hudsonian covered Linda Fessel’s tumultuous life last week – this article continues her story into the present day.
Shortly after Fessel’s article was published last week, she had her to first step to gaining full-custody of her eight-year old son, Alex. She aims to get full-custody of him by the summer working through the Ready for Work Employment Training Program, which lets her take night classes instead of day classes.
Her son also turned eight last week after the snowstorm last week. “They cancelled school so I went over there and spent the day with him,” said Fessel.
Alex travelled alongside Fessel for about six years when she was in the military. Fessel’s last stop would have been Florida if her soon-to-be ex-husband was never arrested in Chesapeake, Virginia. He urged her to relocate to Florida so he could get a certificate in welding.
“He was proud of his hydroponic setup so he told everyone and ended up telling someone who tipped off the police,” said Fessel. At the time, the property manager was trying to unsuccessfully bar her ex-husband from the property. “The judge was laughing in the manager’s face because he couldn’t bar him from his own property without being evicted,” she said.
For months, local authorities incessantly knocked on the couple’s trailer door. Finally, on Feb. 6, 2013, while expecting a Chinese food delivery, authorities raided the residence and put her ex-husband in custody for housing and growing six plants of marijuana in a hydroponic setup.
“They snatched him out of the door and smelled marijuana all over him. He wanted me to buy a $120 charcoal filter for the trailer but quite frankly, it was against everything in my being and there was zero tolerance in the military for it,” she said.
According to Fessel, although she did not want anything to do with her ex-husband’s trade and it ultimately ended up reflecting negatively on her military career. Five months after her ex-husband’s arrest, Fessel was granted other-than-honorable discharge by the Navy for being associated in a drug operation.
Despite the other-than-honorable discharged, she was able to collect benefits from the GI bill due to reenlisting in the military twice. After joining the military in 2004, the human services major jumped to the rank of E4 Petty officer by the time she reenlisted for the first time in 2008. By 2012, at their time of her next reenlistment, Fessel was an E5 Petty officer.
This is the second time a life change has brought Fessel to the Capital Region. Born in Brooklyn, she moved to Troy with her dad at eight years old. Although Fessel has five brothers, two sisters and 14 step siblings inherited from her stepmother, she explained that there was a void in her family missing during her childhood, “My Dad was pretty much never there so I had to raise myself.”
During her years upstate as a child, Fessel said her father replaced her with Karen, her now-stepmother. “When I was eight to ten years years old, I was fending for myself, feeding myself, cleaning my own clothes … “
Fessel moved three times at the age while back in Brooklyn after she moved back downstate at the age of 11 and many times through the navy. She now wishes to settle down in Troy and devote her time to faith through the Salvation Army and her son, Alex.
“I hope to have [Alex] back by the summer. I just have to prove he’s still in a stable environment as it kicks in during the summer. Right now, he has his own room. Granted we don’t have a TV yet. He has everything he needs at the moment,” said Fessel.