"There's no such thing as a dumb question."
Countless times my grandfather would say the above.
"There's no such thing as a dumb question" just the question that’s not asked.- Brooks W. Sunkett, Sr.
***As a child my younger sister Joyce would ask all types of questions, which I thought was dumb. However, my grandfather would always answer them all.***
So here's a question most people ask, today.
How did we get started?
My grandmother, Bertha Sunkett, always had a heart for those in need. She didn't care whether it was a complete stranger at the local speed line's (in Patco New Jersey) that may be hungry and/or homeless. She would bring them home and allow them to shower, while she wash their clothes they would wait and eat at our dinner table. My grandmother's drive was unmatched for our young minds' comprehension. I still can remember times when she would take me to Philadelphia to the food docks and walk up and down 9th street's market (pictured) to purchase out of her pocket fruits and vegetables to fill food baskets during the holidays for those that were struggling to make ends meet.
Bertha Sunkett worked in a Women's Prison Ministry back then. Around the holidays she noticed that the families were depressed. They began to confide in her that their families were suffering. She essentially started getting names and addresses of people to help. The list grew and grew from there.
Our whole entire family would pitch in, sacrificing our time and our own holiday gatherings to gathering gift food baskets and load them up in vehicles to bring our neighbors in need, love from above. This alone paved a way for the next generation. After being homeless myself, I can imagine first-hand what the impact of those blessings must have had.
Fast forward, I never thought this would be my calling. Even having gone through homelessness with two small children as a teenager -- living in a local shelter in Camden New Jersey -- that this would be my quest as an adult. After two failed abusive marriages, I found myself asking God why and how I'm wound up in Spring Hill/Brooksville, FL? And what was my purpose here in a town barely on the map?
He [God] showed me my life's calling through the name of my County in Florida and the City Brookville. That it was my grandchildren’s legacy. You see my grandfather the most humble man I know. Whom I admired and adore, gave me a gift as a toddler, that rings on to this day long after he has gone. It wasn't just his humility and kind pride, that I loved so much but the family values instilled and the work ethic he and my grandmother put in. They didn't have a lot to give but gave themselves. I didn't see him as much as I wanted (every moment of his time) but the moments we shared built a long love for who I am today. I wanted to be just like him. Taking up architectural drafting in high school. Thinking that's what made my grandfather who he was, watching him leave for work in a creased uniformed, which my grandmother would iron before he went heading off to RCA to work, proudly carrying his lunch pale and thermos.
My father would visit his work place with me in tow. As my grandfather walked out through his work doors I could see the architects desk. The graphs and rulers. My grandfather smile would beam so proudly. I wanted to be him. I never knew as a child that he was the janitor. He took pride in that. Held his head high. Maybe that was the soldier in him. Maybe he was raised that way, I don't know but that gift of humility and pride went long plus the countless stories of his days in World War II and showing my sister Joyce (Joy-Joy) and I, his wounds from shrapnel. He'll be deeply missed, but what he gave me will last forever in my nickname. You see as I mention the county I live in and the work God showed me that's needed, is much deeper. It's a legacy -- my grand-children's legacy. "Hernando" is a contraction of the words Her-nan-do. My nickname is "NAN"! My grandfather Brooks gave me that name. I'm here to do whatever God has called me to do, In the City of Camden NJ and in Brooksville, FL. To establish a legacy of humbleness, kind pride, love for our neighbor, work ethics and so much more. Through programs such as Love Thy Neighbor that will inspire our youth to be all they can be. Whether it's a janitor, doctor, athlete or trash man: as my father would say be the best trash man there is. As a Spiritual Life Coach my calling is to go back and “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it." Jeremiah 6:16
In loving memory of my grandparents Bertha and Brooks W. Sunkett Sr. May your legacy live on forever.
Javohn Sunkett Brown