Megan LaClaire, 34: Perfectly Polished Nails & Waxing Spa


Megan LaClaire was knocked down, but rose above it all to provide a better life for her family.

Ms. LaClaire lost her husband, U.S. Army Spc. Jeremy LaClaire, on Dec. 1, 2007. He was a member of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum and served in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2007. They were married for 11 years.

“It is like someone put you in a snow globe and shook it up,” Ms. LaClaire said. “Your whole life has been shaken up and you are just waiting for all of the pieces to fall, so you can look around and see where to put them back together.”

Ms. LaClaire picked up the pieces by going back to school in order to provide for her family. She spent five months driving to and from Syracuse to earn a technical education and professional licenses. Along the way, she had to make a few sacrifices.

“It is not what I ever anticipated doing in my life but I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be,” Ms. LaClaire said. “I don’t think sacrifice is necessarily the right word; I made choices. I chose to do one thing and not another. I willingly gave up [other things] to pursue what was best for our family. I made a choice and I am happy with it.”

She said what she loves most about her job is being able to empower women. Just getting her nails done can be enough to make a woman feel good about herself.

Women have been made to think that if they are not a size 2, then they’re not worthy of feeling good about themselves, Ms. LaClaire said. Feeling beautiful is just as important for women who are a size 12.

“It is not about your size, it is about how you wear your size and how you portray yourself,” Ms. LaClaire said.

Helping others brings Ms. LaClaire joy and her deep resumé of volunteer work is not surprising.

“Making women feel more feminine empowers them. It makes them feel more positive about their self-image,” Ms. LaClaire said. “I am blessed enough to work out of my home, so I can be available for my children and set my schedule around them.”

Ms. LaClaire’s journey has taught her that life will sometimes knock a person down, but what defines them is how they bounce back.

“I think my journey has taught me how to be independent, how to not rely on anyone else for anything and how to take care of my children. And I have that connection — that bond with my children on a level that most parents don’t — because I made choices that were in their best interest, not what I planned for my life, but what needed to happen,” Ms. LaClaire said.

Ms. LaClaire said her children inspire her to work hard every day. She gets up early most days to provide a positive morning and make them a hot breakfast. They sit down together as a family at the table and talk about what their day holds.

“I try very, very hard to wake up every day and just be thankful that I have another day,” Ms. LaClaire said. “Every day is blessing, every day is a gift, so live every day to its full potential because tomorrow is not promised. Hug your family a little bit tighter, tell the people you love you love them and always remember to do things that make you happy.”

— by Whitney Randolph


The Megan LaClaire File

Hometown: Newport, Vt.

Professional position: Owner, Perfectly Polished Nails and Waxing Spa

Family: Son, Jeremy, 15; daughter, Elizabeth, 14

Education: North Country Union High School, Newport, Vt.; Continental School of Beauty, Syracuse

Community involvement: Volunteer: Adult Daycare at Lewis County General Hospital, Maple Ridge Meal Center, Rainbow Girls and Rainbow Camp, Survivor Outreach Services – Fort Drum, Army Family Action Planning and Army Emergency Relief; instructor, Army Community Services; started a bereavement support group with hospice.

Last book read: “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin