By Kevin Goode/ParaglideApril 19, 2013
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Twenty-two years of service has afforded plenty of opportunities for Sgt. 1st Class Josalette Simmons, XVIII Airborne Corps sexual harassment/assault response and prevention noncommissioned officer in charge, to give back to her fellow Soldiers.
On March 26, the Army announced that Simmons is the 2013 Department of the Army Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year.
To be selected for the award, Simmons was first chosen by a Fort Bragg board to represent the post at the United States Army Forces Command level after which she was selected to compete at the Department of the Army level before ultimately being selected SARC of the year.
"When it comes to this program (SHARP) and helping victims find a new road to recovery, I wanted to be a part of the process to help show that there are people in uniform who care about what happened to you, who are here to provide assistance," said Simmons.
It is Simmons' dedication to victims that drives her to be the best that she can be in her job.
"It's my job to focus on the victim," said Simmons. "There is a lot of information that is going to be coming at them when they're dealing with something like this. Our job is to be victim focused and nothing else. We are there to listen to what they're saying and help them in any way we can."
The job of a SARC is a challenging one. Not only must SARCs be willing to help people on one of their worst days, but also must be able to do it consistently on a regular basis without letting it affect their personal lives.
Simmons said she finds that it is her faith and Family who helps her keep focused on doing her best.
"I pray. I ask God to allow me do what I need to do here and when it's time for me to separate and go home that he gives me peace with everything that I'm dealing with here so that I'm not overburdened or that my children aren't affected by my work," she said.
The job of a SARC isn't to fix everything that has happened to victims of sexual harassment/assault, rather it is to provide support, be available and help those who need it.
"When you enjoy doing something so much and you have such a passion for it, you don't think about what reward you can get for it," said Simmons.
"It takes loyalty, duty, honesty and courage be a good SARC because when you get that call to come help someone, you are committing yourself to create an environment that shows you really care for those who need it most. It's one thing to say you will be there for someone, but it's another thing to show it."