The last seven months have been tough for Alisha Dobbins. Her best friend in the whole world was killed in a car wreck, Oct. 14, 2007.

“I miss her,” Dobbins said, “we’d been friends forever it seemed like. I can’t really remember when Amanda and I weren’t friends.”

Dobbins said her friend, Amanda Connors, had decided to take the leap and join the Army. Connors was scheduled to enlist on a Monday. She died on a Sunday.

“Joining the Army was Amanda’s dream,” Dobbins said.

With her friend gone, Dobbins knew she needed to be making some decisions about her own future, but that was really hard — until an idea came to her.

Last Wednesday, on May 14, the seven-month anniversary of Amanda’s death, Dobbins was sworn into the Army. She’ll leave Thursday for basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and after the nine-week basic, she’ll have another couple of months “AIT” — that’s Army in Training — still at Fort Jackson.

Dobbins, the daughter of Carolyn and Ovie Dobbins of Brownwood, is only 17. She had to have her parents permission to join the Army.

“We’re proud of her, very proud,” said Carolyn Dobbins. “After Amanda’s death, it was too hard for Alisha to go to school. She was being home schooled. But she made this decision, it’s like she has the chance to live two dreams — hers and Amanda’s.”

Right after her swearing in, Alisha Dobbins called Connors’ mother, Sherri, to tell her the news.

“She was glad for me. She was proud,” Alisha said. “I think it was a hard day for her, it being the anniversary and everything, but then again it was a good day. It was like her daughter’s dream is going to come true — through me.”

Alisha Dobbins said she was “nervous but excited at the same time” about heading for basic training.

“I like to work out and run,” she said. “I know I’m going to get to do a lot of that. But I’m anxious to do this. I’m anxious to do this for my friend, but I’m proud, also, to serve my country.

“If I could say just one thing or if there could be one thing for Amanda to know, I’d want to say this, ‘I love you, Amanda.’”