Got Your 6 features the stories of black veterans

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Alicia Downs inherited her “servant’s heart” from her grandmother. Though her grandmother was not a veteran, she always set a strong example of service for Alicia, who began volunteering through her church as a child. At the young age of eight, Alicia saw a commercial for the Montgomery GI Bill. Inspired by her desire to attain a college degree and her servant’s heart, Alicia decided then that she would join the military.

As a US Marine, Alicia found comfort in the discipline, and she spent a total of six years in service. But when she returned home to her husband and two children, she became restless and uneasy. Not knowing the next step, Alicia remembered what inspired her desire for service in the first place: the GI Bill commercial. She enrolled in school, becoming both a full-time student and full-time mother: “And, after seven years, a cross-country move, and a set of twins, I became the first person in my family to earn a college degree graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.” Soon after, Alicia unexpectedly continued her education, graduating from the University of Southern California School of Social Work in 2012.12622318_1545775965736353_7256333972324167441_o

Even after these achievements, Alicia still felt a sense of restlessness and unease. Finally, ten years after she left military service, she discovered The Mission Continues, an organization that empowers veterans to continue their service in their communities. “It was exactly what I needed—an opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. Through the sense of purpose and camaraderie, I finally felt like I fit in the world. My servant’s heart was finally at ease. It may have taken 15 years but I’ve successfully reintegrated. And as a staff member of TMC, I now live each day helping veterans find the
same satisfaction.”

Bobette Brown joined the army for independence. After tasting independence during her freshman year of college, Bobette was not willing to let it go when her financial aid decreased and her parents could no longer afford her tuition. “I did not have many options and the thought of returning home and abandoning my short-lived freedom was much more than I wanted to endure. With no money saved to live on my own and no job prospects, I decided it was time for me to join the U.S. Army,” Bobette said.

37.GY6_IAm_Bobette_BrownBobette described the army as an obvious choice for her. Her father is a decorated career officer, army ranger, jumpmaster trained and a Vietnam survivor; she grew up surrounded by the army. When Bobette enlisted, she seized the opportunity to go to airborne training school, and she eventually served for five years as part of the elite 82nd airborne division. Bobette welcomed the challenge of the army, noting the more she was pushed, the more she would achieve. “I am absolutely glad I served. I enjoyed traveling, meeting phenomenal people, being exposed to new environments and cultural diversity,” she said.

Since leaving service, Bobette has helped empower others as a Transformation Architect, speaker, certified life and relationship coach and bestselling author of Jesus Said, “Come!”

Alicia and Bobette’s stories appeared on our campaign Got Your 6’s blog as part of the celebration of Black History Month. Throughout February, the stories of military veterans will be shared on the blog; each story will explain what led these veterans to serve in the military and how they continue to serve their country at home.

Read Alicia’s full story here and Bobette’s story here. Watch Bobette’s Storytellers performance here.

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