These are the words I strive to live by so that my daughter and son can follow an example of someone who is strong in their faith and a risk taker. My daughter is the mother of my only two grandchildren, works full-time as a school teacher, and attends college. My only son is now serving our country in the U.S. Navy- Family is everything to us. The hard-working and caring qualities I learned from my parents when I was a kid continues on through my children.
I held my first job as a senior year in high school, when I worked as an Assistant Secretary for the DeSoto County Commissioner’s office. After my first two years of college, I entered bootcamp at the US Navy Recruit Training Center in Orlando, FL. I served on active duty as an Information Technician Specialist aboard the USNS John Lenthall and USS Yellowstone during Operation Desert Storm in the 90’s. During my time on active duty, I started a business to make sure I would have an income for whenever I decided to leave the military. I was honorably discharged in 1996, and shortly afterwards, I joined the US Naval Reserves. It was at this time I received the Presidential Recall back to active duty for two years in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Noble Eagle during the 9/11 attacks. I am proud to say that I am now retired after over 20 years of service on active duty and reserve. Since my retirement, I have had the privilege of helping others start their businesses, starting nonprofits, and speaking nationwide to others about grant writing. I am also the author of five books including one about my recall to active duty during 9/11.
I would not trade my time in the military for anything and I would proudly serve my country all over again. The Navy gave me the opportunity to fight so that others could have freedom, justice, and equality.
Even though I am focused on my work everyday helping local and nationwide nonprofits start. I never forget where I came from. After growing up in a small, rural town in Florida, I’ve since had the honor to speak to leaders on a local and national level. I’ve written and reviewed grants for HUD, United Way, the City of Orlando, and also helped hundreds of nonprofit organizations nationwide. I’ve served on a Panel of CEO’s and Entrepreneurs to help the University of Phoenix develop a new Master’s Degree Program for Entrepreneurs. I know business, and I know when someone has been left behind.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Aretha Simons, Nonpartisan, for Orlando Mayor
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