Soror Carlisle, whose son is also an Army veteran, served as a supply specialist. She has fond memories of the security and structure military service provided as well as meeting people from all over America.
She also has not so fond memories of the early morning awakenings and the physical training.
“I hated running and still do,” Soror Carlisle said.
Soror Carlisle, who pledged Mu Theta Zeta graduate chapter in Germany, says she believes the military and Zeta have important similarities – service and loyalty.
“Sometimes in the military, as well as in our blessed sorority, decisions are made that you may not agree with or understand,” said Carlisle. “But, because you took the oath, you stay faithful to the pledge you swore to.”
To young ladies considering military service she offers this advice:
“Research the different branches of the services. Look to those who have served short and long term. Have a plan of what/where you see yourself in the future. How will the military help you fulfill that path? What exactly is it that the you want to accomplish? How long do you want your commitment to the military to be! Do not be afraid. The military should be a stepping stone into the future if you are unsure what direction you want to go.”
Military service did not come without sacrifice and challenges for Soror Carlisle. She endured racism and gender discrimination.
“I got to my first duty station with questions like: ‘What are you? Are you black or white? Are you American? Where were you born? Where your parents from?’ I learned to bite my tongue a lot”, she said.
“At that time, women in the military were not looked at favorably. The climate was rapidly changing but some old heads (senior Non Commissioned Officers) still thought the army was not meant for women,” Carlisle recalled.
Still the rewards, outweighed the obstacles and she when on the have a long career with military as a veteran and civilian.
“I was able to get a job with the Department of Army where I was able to still serve the military,” she said. “I was able to travel overseas and state side. I was able to retire after 33 years. I was even able to deploy with soldiers to Iraq and support not out soldiers but military from other countries.”
On a final note, Soror Carlisle offers this comparison:
“Our sorority helps us to bridge our differences and respect those differences as well. We learn that as women from all different backgrounds, we can come together to serve a greater purpose. We learn that lifting others, teaching, sisterhood and serving our communities is giving back something that is far greater than ourselves. In the military, we learn we are different but we support and defend each other and not only this nation but others. We learn camaraderie, and although we come from different backgrounds, we learn and grow from our daily interactions with each other.”
Well-stated Soror Carlisle. We are blessed and honored to have you as a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and the Sigma Omega Zeta chapter. We appreciate your for your military service and your service to our sorority and the communities we serve.
In Spring 2019, we welcomed a host of beautiful, finer women into the Sigma Omega Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. One of these awesome women is Navy Veteran Soror Veronica Love. Women Veterans Rock, and we are honored to show our appreciation for Soror Love during Military Appreciation Week 2019.
Soror Love served in the United States Navy from 1989-1993.
“I joined the military in 1989 to do something meaningful and productive with my life”, she said. “At that time, College was not what I wanted to do.”
Upon entry, she was trained to be an electrician. At her duty station, she was placed in Ships Company where she was responsible for battery and lighting.
Soror Love says she was one of the few ships electricians who worked on everything electrical.
“I worked on and wired power panels, generators, transformers, elevators, lights, and various ship equipment and small boats”, she said.
Her job was to also provide power to submarines that was assigned to her ship.
“When my ship was out to sea, my job then was to stand watch in the engine room and provide power to the ships turbine generators,” she added.
Soror Love says she enjoyed her time serving.
“The thing I enjoyed the most from my time serving is the life long bonds that I established,” she said. “And to know my small part made a difference.”
Her service came with much sacrifice. She missed her family, and for her, this was the least enjoyable part of military service.
The armed forces comes with many sacrifices, but it plays a vital role in regular civilian lives. The sacrifices that are made is what gives us the comforts and freedoms that are often taken for granted.
Soror Love says once she got out of the military, she had discipline that she didn’t have when she graduated high school. She went on to obtain four degrees with nothing less that a 3.68 GPA.
“The military is a great way to get an education, travel the world, and get exceptional job training,” said Soror Love.
“I have to honestly say that I grew up and saw myself in a different light,” she continued. “I was proud to be an American Sailor.”
Soror Love is a disabled veteran. She says she has hardships she fights daily to overcome.
Soror Veronica Love, we salute you. Thank you for your service to our country, to your community, and to our chapter and sorority.
SOROR BENZIE BRINSON: FIGHTER. SURVIVOR. INSPIRATION.
Three of her mom’s seven sisters had breast cancer. Her cousin she was very close to her died of breast cancer in 2013. In 2014, Soror Benzie Brinson was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. But, instead of seeing it as a death sentence, as many would, Soror Brinson decided she didn’t have time for it. She buckled in and set her mind to winning the fight for her life. Winning is exactly what she did.
“I didn’t have time for that drama,” she says. “I could either get busy living or get busy dying. I had too much living to do.”
She’s a wife, mother, educator, friend, mentor, and most importantly a woman of God. He clearly had more work for her to do.
A SIGN BEYOND THE GRAVE; DIAGNOSIS
Soror Brinson began to get annual breast cancer screenings in her 40s. All of them came back negative for breast cancer. But It was a breast cancer warning sign her late cousin shared with her before she died that prompted her to take her annual screening a step further.
“Before she died my cousin told me that an inverted nipple was a sign of cancer,” she shares. “One morning when I was looking in the mirror, I noticed that my nipple was pushed inward.”
Recalling her cousins word of caution, she made and appointment, and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.
A DRAMA-FREE FIGHT FOR HER LIFE
She insisted that she was not about the drama of breast cancer. So, when she shared what she was going through with people, it was on a need to know basis. When those that needed to know responded with pity and tears, she shut them down.
She needed support. She needed prayers. She would eventually need a little help. But, she didn’t need pity and tears and grief. She was not dying and was not about to let anyone put her in an early grave. She was living. She had too much to live for. She was poised to fight and that she did.
Soror Brinson educated herself about breast cancer, learning that the annual screenings only went so far. After all, the screenings had missed the cancer that the doctors said had to have been growing in her body for at least three years. Frustrated and angry, she turned this part of her testimony into a message.
“If it looks like something is off with your breasts, get them checked,” she advises. “Push for doctors to go beyond the routine screenings. Demand they give you the best screening.”
With purpose and passion, she encourages all women to get their screenings, pay attention to their bodies, and do preventive care.
If you’ve never had a breast exam, she encourages, “It’s never too late to start. Definitely get it. Don’t make any assumptions about your body.”
GO BEYOND THE NORM
Soror Brinson says breast cancer awareness walks and funding research are is fine, but ultimately, there is a need to go beyond entry level prevention.
“The government doesn’t really require the appropriate level of prevention and care that should be provided,” she adds.
WISDOM FROM A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR
“Your attitude determines your altitude,” she reminds us. “Work with your doctors. Surround yourself with people who offer support in words and in action.”
Most importantly, “Don’t focus on dying.”
As the year four survivor proclaims us, “I’m too busy living to focus on dying.”
“Friendship and Solidarity” by Soror Sibongile Lynch
In 2014 Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated became a leading advocate for the Women Veterans ROCK initiative. The program, through a ten-year commission by the Healthy Caregiver Community Foundation, supports women and girls in military families’ shift from serving in the military to serving in their communities. As a service-oriented organization, Zeta Phi Beta is committed to this enterprise as we advocate for positive community role models and a legacy of women leaders.
To commemorate the signing of the historic agreement with Women Veterans ROCK, Sigma Omega Zeta Chapter is honored to highlight our own members who have served proudly in the United States Armed Forces.
We proudly salute Soror Arlene Grant.
Soror Arlene Grant, served as an E4 Specialist in the Georgia Army National Guard for seven years, from 1991-1998, where she worked as a carpenter and brick mason.
Soror Grant is part of a military family, but asserts that although her brothers were in the U.S. Airforce and Army, this did not influence her decision to become a soldier. Having obtained an Associate’s Degree in Civil Engineering and working as a drafter, drawing house plans, Soror Grant was motivated to join the military by a desire to learn how houses were built.
Though the hours were long, Soror Grant says the camaraderie with her fellow soldiers is what she enjoyed most while serving our country. That friendship and solidarity is what she found when she became a member of Sigma Omega Zeta Chapter in spring 2019. Grant says, “The camaraderie with fellow soldiers is the same as the sisterhood of a sorority. In the military you are serving your country, and in a sorority you are serving your community. They both give you a sense of accomplishment.”
Military training, Grant explained, helped her “to make sound decisions and great judgement calls” in her life, and helped her to avoid many of life’s pitfalls. Her message to young women considering a life as a soldier is that, “the military teaches you discipline and skills for many aspects of your life.” There is also “the opportunity to travel and meet new people all over the world…a free education, and a guaranteed home loan.”
As a result of consistent learning opportunities in the service, the desire to learn and grow has spilled over into civilian life for Soror Grant. She currently holds three degrees in Education: a Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University; a Masters of Education and Educational Specialist degree from Brenau University. Grant is also working towards a Ph.D., but of her many accomplishments, she is proud that her carpentry skills have allowed her to remodel her home. “Over the years, I have saved tons of money on costly home repairs;” doing the painting, wood floor installations, plumbing, and electrical work herself!
Soror Grant is an inspiration, and we are so proud that she is a part of our sisterhood. Thank you, Soror Grant for your service! We know that your service to our community will continue through your dedication to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.