View Full Version : Brooks finds Lejeune time gratifying

02-01-08, 04:23 AM
Brooks finds Lejeune time gratifying
Suzanne Ulbrich
February 1, 2008 - 4:10AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is part of a series profiling Onslow County's Intriguing African-American Women, who will be honored Saturday along with women from surrounding counties, by The NorthEast Community Development Corp.

Navy Cmdr. Marilyn M. Brooks has taken tours all over the globe, but she says her four years serving with Marines at Camp Lejeune has been the most professionally gratifying.

Brooks oversaw the base mental health programs and served as branch head of the Community Counseling Center at Camp Lejeune.

The counseling center recently received a 193-percent inspection score under her command, which Brooks says has been her greatest achievement.

Brooks is one of seven Onslow County women being honored Saturday by the NorthEast Community Development Corp. during its celebration of Black History Month at the Infant of Prague Catholic Church.

"I was completely surprised by the award," Brooks said. "I just do my job. I was not expecting to be selected - it's an honor."

Brooks spearheaded Operation Rapid Response in 2004, the first program designed to prepare the base and civilian community for an influx of wounded warriors returning from combat.

"Providing counseling for returning troops was relatively new at the time," Brooks said. "Not a lot of attention was placed on the mental health arena and preparing for (troops) when they returned. We had troops come in and talk to us and tell us what they were experiencing and tell us what they felt they needed on base as well as out in the community."

Brooks describes herself as a Southern girl from Danville, Va. She says she is old-fashioned and likes to quilt, can, cook and make homemade soaps. She plays a little guitar and is an ordained minister, serving as youth pastor at Ecclesia Ministries in Richlands.

Brooks helped raise her cousin during her family's troubled times. They traveled overseas together when the girl was between the ages of 9 and 13.

"She is now in college making straight A's," Brooks said. "That was one of the most personally rewarding things I've done."

Brooks also ministered in a church in Italy with refugees from Nigeria and Ghana.

"Some of these people literally came over on a raft; they came there to find a better way of life," she said. "We ministered them both physically and spiritually."

Brooks received a bachelor's degree in English from Radford University in Virginia in 1976. She went on to get a masters in English from the University of Iowa. She completed her master's degree in social work at the University of Michigan in 1980.

Tours of duty have taken her all over the world, to places like Sasebo, Japan; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; and Naples, Italy.

Her next tour, at the end of March, will take her back to Sasebo, Japan, where she will be head of Early Development and Intervention Services Program with the Navy.

Contact Topsail area reporter Suzanne Ulbrich at sulbrich@freedomenc.com or 910-353-1171, ext. 8466. Visit www.jdnews.com to comment on this report.