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Beale observes MLK day

Rhonda Staley-Brooks, president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, speaks to Team Beale members during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observance breakfast at the Recce Point Club Jan. 17, 2012. The breakfast was held to remember, celebrate and act on Dr. King's achievements. (U.S. Air Force Photo by John Schwab/RELEASED)

Rhonda Staley-Brooks, president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, speaks to Team Beale members during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observance breakfast at the Recce Point Club Jan. 17, 2012. The breakfast was held to remember, celebrate and act on Dr. King's achievements. (U.S. Air Force Photo by John Schwab/RELEASED)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- In memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and achievements, Team Beale held its annual observance breakfast at the Recce Point Club Jan. 17, 2012.

The event, themed "Remember, Celebrate, Act," featured guest speaker Rhonda Staley-Brooks, the president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento.

"I love what I do and the fact that Martin Luther King talked about service. It makes me feel great inside," Brooks said. "I stay with Big Brothers, Big Sisters because of the service. It's not the paycheck I go for; I get paid because I get to change the lives of children one child at a time."

A military brat, Brooks, whose father is a retired chief master sergeant, spoke about Dr. King's sense of service and the diversity in military life. Brooks said she didn't know she was black until she went to college in 1990, where someone addressed her with a racial slur.

"Children raised on Air Force bases are so fortunate. I didn't have to face adversity until I was old enough to handle it. Look at the diversity in this room. This didn't happen when Martin Luther King was alive. We didn't do this, sitting down together at the same table. We celebrate that we are diverse. Now it's time to act. Donate your time, your resources. Make a difference, wherever you feel the passion to do so. Everyone can make a difference, one person at a time. I go to work because I can see the difference our programs make.

At the end of the breakfast, Brig. Gen. Paul H. McGillicuddy, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, addressed the audience, speaking about meeting Fred D. Gray, one of the attorney's behind the Montgomery, Ala., civil rights movement and Mrs. Johnnie Rebecca Carr, a close friend of Rosa Parks.

"They were real people, behind the scenes leaders of the civil rights movement, giving up their lives to act on their passion, to make us a better country and a better world," he said.

The breakfast was the first in a series of events through February celebrating the achievements of African Americans. For more information on upcoming events, contact Master Sgt. Edwin Sims at 634-3759. For more information about volunteering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, visit www.bbbs-sac.org or email info@bbbs-sac.org.