Amanda Blount was raised in poverty and experienced years of childhood abuse. Not willing to allow this to stop her achieve her dreams, Amanda joined the Army at 19 years old and set out to make a better life for herself and her future family.
With barely a high school diploma, Amanda Blount worked extensively in the civilian, military, and government sectors, obtaining higher education and greater experience at each level in her career, until rising to the ranks of LT in the Army and GS11 in the Department of Defense (DOD).
She retired from the US Army in 2014 as a 1LT, with over 20 years of service. She also retired from the Department of Defense as a GS11. Her hard work and dedication led to a steady progression of promotions, professional awards, and impressive accomplishments.
Amanda learned her work ethic and dedication while growing up in the rural community of Mackeys, North Carolina. This area is located near the Atlantic ocean, on the Albemarle Sound, and is surrounded by a network of rivers and creeks which help form the protected area known as the Great Dismal Swamp. Due to this location, water is an important part of the culture there, and is the main resource for crops, tourism, and industry. The area’s economy relies heavily on farming and commercial fishing. This setting would become the backdrop for Amanda’s environmental passions.
Amanda became very comfortable with nature and spent much of her early years outdoors, exploring on her own, and studying the animals, swamps, creeks, and the thick forests for which the area is known.
Because of its proximity of the ocean, Mackeys is also known for hurricanes, tornadoes, and other strong storms. This type of weather demanded that emergency and disaster management wasn’t just a drill, but a serious way of life in each and every household. The constant changes in the landscape also helped piqued Amanda’s passion for understanding the natural changes in the local ecosystems and understanding how it affected the region’s vast ecological diversity.
Amanda taught herself basic photography as a child. She used this skill not only to capture nature, but to document the damage factories caused to local fisheries, watersheds, soil quality, and farms. She became deeply interested in this type of environmental work when she learned large companies tend to abuse their power in rural areas, and can completely devastate an area after years of environmental abuse.
This abuse of power deeply concerned her as she learned more about her immediate area. Her home county of Washington County, NC is very sparsely populated, but Amanda discovered as a teen that her town was the location of at least one major EPA Superfund site, which was located on the main water source, directly behind the high school, which was also located near many single family homes and low income government provided apartment complexes. In the years that followed, this once-popular farming and fishing area become the location for up to six Superfund sites, with two of the major sites still active as of 2016.
Amanda’s interest in nature did not end with the Earth’s environment. From very early on, Amanda developed a deep fascination with space and dreamed of becoming an astronaut. She wanted to see for herself how the world was interconnected and to show others how the effects of pollution in one area can eventually affect the whole planet. Unfortunately, when Amanda was a teen, there had never been a female US astronaut. Females were not allowed to become astronauts.
She did not let this sway her from her dreams.
To see the world on her own terms, Amanda joined the military and served in many countries including; Germany, Austria, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Panama, Kuwait, and Iraq. In 1988, she even served behind the wall in East Berlin. These experiences served to increase her passion to learn more about our planet, the people who live here, and learn new ways to heal the damage humans have caused.
No matter where she was, Amanda continued to reach for the stars.
Amanda never lost hope that one day she would journey to space. Now, due to a new passenger capsule built by World View Enterprises, she is scheduled, as one of the few untrained human passengers, to fly to the edge of space.
She hopes to use this once in a lifetime to show others the importance of protecting our planet for future generations. She also hopes to inspire others to embrace their passions and never lose sight of their dreams.