Andersen Storytellers tell their tales of resilience

by Senior Airman Katrina M. Brisbin
36th Wing Public Affairs

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Domestic violence, suicide, incarceration and being left for dead - these are the stories six Airmen shared with their wingmen during the Oct. 16 Storytellers event here.

 Storytellers is an event that was developed in 2012 in response to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III's open-ended question: "Every Airman has a story. What's yours?" The event acts as a platform from which Airmen and family members who have overcome difficulties in their lives can share their tales of resiliency in hopes to inspire others.

 "This isn't mandatory training. There's no slide show with an intro, overview and a few bullet points," said Investigator Daniel Scarola, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 602 sexual assault investigator and Storytellers event coordinator. "These are personal stories from real people. Unfortunately, sometimes mandatory training is forgotten, but these stories will stick with you forever."

 Twelve individuals submitted their stories to the Storytellers committee for auditions prior to the official event. From there, six Airmen were chosen to tell their stories to a packed room at the Sunrise Conference Center.

 "I can only imagine how much courage it took for those people to get up there and share their personal life struggles with so many people," said Senior Airman Daisey Whittaker, 36th Wing command section executive administration assistant. "I believe that programs like Storytellers are great because it reminds us that we are just people and we all have gone through different struggles in life and that it is OK."

 One of the storytellers was Staff Sgt. Cornelius Browdy, 36th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron weapons loader, who shared his story of being beaten and left for dead. Through various forms of resiliency, he was able to recover in approximately a month, a drastic contrast to the six months the doctors anticipated.

 "I shared my testimony to help encourage others," Browdy said. "If I had chosen to give up, my life would have ended that night ... You can get through whatever issue you may be having. Have faith, be resilient and never give up."

 For more information on the Storytellers program, visit www.facebook.com/afstorytellers.

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