Retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Sam Parrish, right, poses with Paul

and Paula Zima in 1999.

They share similar first names, plus long military careers in the same service branch. They are Paula and Paul Zima.

The Air Force couple, residents of Palm Bay since 2004, also have subsequent jobs that continue serving their community, albeit in very different ways.

He amassed seven Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Force Commendation Medals with one Oak Leaf Cluster for heroism, the National Defense Service, the Humanitarian Service, plus many more kudos. Then in 2002, Paul Zima retired as command chief master sergeant for the 45th Space Wing at the former Patrick Air Force Base, now Patrick Space Force Base. His second career subsequently led him to his current position as manager of the Eastern Range team, a job where he leads more than 400 represented and exempt personnel at the world’s busiest Spaceport.

“If there is ever an emergency, I want Paul to lead the way, the go-to guy in any crisis situation,” said Cindy Hilburn, the Eastern Range manager/ LISC deputy program manager.

Like her husband, Paula Zima has earned her share of recognition from the Air Force, including the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for Valor with seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

While Paul Zima veered towards a second career in launching rockets, Paula preferred launching people into homeownership.

“I’ve always loved the idea of selling real estate since we moved so often and bought/sold several homes throughout our military career,” she said.

When it comes to real estate, Paula Zima, a military certified residential specialist for RE/MAX Elite, is, like Paul, no slouch in the awards department, earning, among others, The International President’s Circle Award in 2014 and 2015 and the International Diamond Society Award 2011 to 2013.

One of her pet initiatives is raising awareness of the excellent opportunities provided by VA loans for active or retired military and their families. Because they lack familiarity with this type of loan, some realtors eschew them as too difficult and in the process do a disservice for qualifying homeowners. Paula begs to differ and she has walked the walk with this product, for Paul and her have obtained several VA loans throughout their careers.

“VA loans are very dear to my heart, and it is a benefit they have earned for service to their country,” she said.

A significant number of Paula’s clients include military service in their resumes, and many of these individuals seek her help with VA loans, once she has explained its many benefits.

“On average, 27 percent of my clients are military vets and VA loans make up on average 23 percent of my sales,” she said.