Renee Bitinas used her GI Bill to fund a fine arts degree.

Renee Bitinas used her GI Bill to fund a fine arts degree. (Renee Bitinas)

I was an airman at Ramstein AB in 2010 and 2011 in the maintenance squadron of the 86th AW, and now I’m a fine artist and entrepreneur. I’ve often looked back on all I learned while in the military and how powerful it would be to share my success as a Veteran.

Ms. Bitinas while serving at Ramstein AB, Germany.

Ms. Bitinas while serving at Ramstein AB, Germany. (Renee Bitinas)

The Air Force helped mold me into a stronger individual and taught me leadership and fortitude. The privilege of being stationed overseas brought the opportunity to connect with people from many different backgrounds and gain cultural insight. I also had the chance to work as a federal civilian employee after my tour which allowed me to live in Germany for a longer period of time. 

I used my GI Bill to go to college, and the classes I took on base helped me finish my associate’s degree. I then pivoted into the arts and pursued an online bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute. Doing an arts degree while living overseas allowed me to experience the culture in a new way. Seeing historic and beautiful architecture, cathedrals, and art firsthand in Germany and surrounding countries that were so easy to travel to, inspired me greatly and impacted my life forever.

Ms. Bitinas in Cologne, Germany

Ms. Bitinas in Cologne, Germany (Renee Bitinas)

I found a passion for abstract oil painting and have now created my own art business and sold my work to dozens of collectors worldwide. I consistently reference my time in Europe as being the foundation for my inspiration and there’s no doubt that the military gave me the building blocks to be an entrepreneur through practicing leadership and discipline. 

Purpose, adventure, and education were the biggest reasons I joined the military and I got to fulfill all three thanks to the Air Force. Being a Veteran has continued to give me so many opportunities and I have continued to feel pride as an American to have served. It is still important to me, as I believe it is for many Veterans, to continue to fulfill that drive and purpose for service which I have now put into creating artwork that spreads positivity and supporting humanitarian campaigns I care about.

For those who are serving, have served, or are looking to serve, I hope this acts as a story of hope and inspiration for the possibilities that lie ahead and that the purpose for service can live on in many ways. 

Editors Note: You can view Bitinas’ work at

The author at her college graduation

The author at her college graduation (Renee Bitinas)

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