I am a 21 year Retiree from the Army National Guard, Air Force Reserves and finally my last 13 years was with the North Carolina Air National Guard. I achieved the rank of Master Sergeant and was deployed several times after 9/11 including a tour to Iraq in 2005 and a tour to Afghanistan in 2011-2012 where I was the First Sergeant to 127 personnel at Kandahar and Camp Bastion Afghanistan. My training and duty experiences instilled a sense of honor, respect, patriotism and loyalty to my country, community and family. I have had the honor and privilege to train and work side by side with some of the most courageous people I have ever met.
My Duties with the Military were in the position of Aeromedical Technician. I had the honor and privilege to assist our wounded warriors from point of injury to bringing them back to the USA. I was also honored and humbled to be there when we placed our heroes who gave the final sacrifice on the Angel Flight home.
I have been a member of Henry K. Burtner Post 53, Greensboro, NC for 15 years. My experience and knowledge started with my Post Commander encouraging me to attend the NC Conferences and Convention a year after I joined the post. I got very excited with being a part of an organization so dedicated to helping and protecting veteran’s rights and benefits. During my years with the American Legion I have held many offices within my post and including the position of Post Commander for 2016-2017. Also, I have served as District 14 Vice and District Commander and Division III Vice Department Commander for 2015-2016.
I am married to a wonderful man, fellow veteran and Legionnaire Bobby Barker. His dedication and sense of loyalty, honor and hard work is one of the things I admire about him. He has assisted me in every way to become the person that stands in front of you today.
I grew up in Washington State as a child and was raised by parents that although very poor taught me to honor and respect my elders, people in authority such as my teachers, law enforcement as well as the military. My father was a Korean War era veteran and served in Japan in 1946 to 1948. I loved listening to his stories about his experiences while he served this great nation. I had 4 brothers and 2 sisters, and a mother who was not only beautiful but had such patience with all of us. I am sure we tried her nerves many times, and her revenge was leaving the discipline to my father. I knew I was in trouble when she would say “You wait till your father gets home.” My parents told me I was their most stubborn and fearless child. I brought home stray dogs, cats and even a child in the neighborhood as they did not have anywhere to go or were hungry. When I was younger I was going to change the world, help all those in need and make sure nobody was hungry again.
I still believe strongly that with everyone’s help we can make this world a better place and no one needs to go hungry.