We asked you to tell us about a veteran who continues to serve and inspire. From hundreds of compelling entries, we chose to tell the stories of eight veterans. The first-ever Veterans Community Showcase is presented in partnership with UMUC.
‘My life is pretty full!” our most nominated veteran said. It’s really no wonder why she says that, or why so many people wanted her featured here. She works at a nursing home with patients who have Alzheimer’s, volunteers at her local VA hospital, helps at a pregnancy center as well as at a home for abused women and helps people with special needs in her community.
Meet Chaplain Annette Brooks.
“People just talk to me,” Annette said. “They just come up and talk to me. I love hearing people’s stories and help them feel less pain.” Annette took her love for people and made a career for herself, starting with counseling school. And that really couldn’t be further than what she did while in the Army.
Annette was in the Army from 1981 to 1984, she stayed in the Reserves until 1989. If you ever knew anyone who had the same job as Annette, you’ll recognize the closed tone in her voice when she explained her job.
“I was Telecommunications,” she said to me twice. Once she says “crypto,” one knows not to push and ask for more.
Her path to become a Chaplain didn’t take a straight line, as life rarely does, but there were signs early on. Orphaned at age two, Annette was raised by foster parents, a Pentecostal preacher and his wife. And the way Annette puts it, becoming a chaplain wasn’t her choice, really.
“I didn’t decide, it was a call that I didn’t know at first that it was in me.”
Her natural talent of knowing how to interact with people took her to counseling school first. From there a friend told her about a school for chaplains in Florida, and she knew her calling.
“I can’t even describe it. God just put it in me,” she explained.
Annette’s favorite part of being a chaplain is meeting all different types of people.
“A preacher has four walls, a chaplain is outside, in the community,” she said. She has about a two hour radius that is her community, and it keeps her very busy.
Many times, Annette has the opportunity to minister to someone just by being in the right place at the right time.
“A woman was giving birth and I showed up!” she said, unable to contain the joy in her voice. “The water had already broken; I just stayed with them until the paramedics showed up. The husband was very happy I was there!” she laughed.
It’s not always a joyous occasion for Annette. Once, she was on the scene where a person had been hit by a dump truck. There wasn’t anything she could do except pray with the man until he died.
“It was hard for me that day, but I did what had to be done,” she said. The job of a chaplain, according to Annette, is to just be present in these situations. “You are there to help people until they are transported to safety.”
When people nominate someone for these features, we asked them to tell us a little about the person they were nominating. For Annette, it was the same from everyone… “Chaplain Annette Brooks has been very inspirational in my life…” “She is an amazing inspiration and support system…” “Excellent advocate for veterans…” “A visionary who creates ways to help women who are broken…”
Chaplain Annette Brooks is a veteran who absolutely makes the world a better place.
For more about UMUC, click here.