Paying It Forward Beading

My name is Anita and I am a retired Master Sergeant. After 20 years with the US Air Force, I had to retire because my unit had no idea what to do with an E7 with severe/chronic PTSD. Losing my flight, my troops and my responsibilities within a year of diagnosis was terrible and left me without a purpose.
In order to help heal I began to do some beaded projects. I learned to bead while I was receiving treatment for PTSD at an inpatient facility, it was the only thing I could do to ground myself, the one thing that kept me level headed. Over the years it has grown to more than just beading, it now encompasses paper crafts and sewing.
Crafting is my therapy. While it allows me to create items and give back to Veterans, Military & their families, it is also an opportunity to bring awareness to PTSD and other mental health issues.

Owner Profile

Anita Herrada-Johnson

Anita is a Retired USAF Veteran who founded Paying It Forward Beading. Prior to retirement she served at Maxwell AFB Alabama, Shaw AFB South Carolina, Kunsan AB SKorea (2x) and at Pope AFB North Carolina. She also deployed to Iraq twice and once to Afghanistan. Anita manages and runs PIFB where she makes items for Walter Reed Medical Center Patients and mails out monthly cards to anyone who needs a lift. She started Paying It Forward Beading to help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and to bring awareness to the struggles military and veterans face. Anita has worked within her community at the local library and senior center by crafting with patrons. She offers crafting classes to show people that it can be used as a therapy tool for mental health illnesses and more. Anita speaks with groups and with individuals to help bring awareness to mental health issues many face and to provide an opportunity for others to give back to our military, veterans and their families. She retired in Raeford North Carolina after her last duty station at Pope AFB. She lives with her husband, two children and cats. Her oldest son is actively serving with the US Army.