I am Rhodene Mathis, a veteran of the US Air Force. Although I did not serve in combat, I can relate to the obstacles that many women faced upon returning home – reunifying with my family, husband, Jerome and our daughter, Ioanina (Nina), who was two (2) at the time of my enlistment. It was not an easy task but through the grace of God, we made it through. Since that time, I have enjoyed a full life with Jerome, Nina and our daughter, Anitra. After the military, I began a career with the Florida Department of Corrections and retired after 32 years.
I always felt like my mission or purpose in life had not been fulfilled yet. So one evening, while watching television, I realized that the “Wounded Warriors/Soldiers” were not representative of all who have served. I noticed that a clear picture was not being shown to us via television or any other media sources. We were missing another component – the female warrior/soldier. I continued to pay close attention to the commercials to be sure that I had not missed something. I hadn’t. So, with that in mind, I began a conversation with God about the “missing component”. I became “pregnant” with the vision of what needed to be done to help let the world know that we (women) served, too.
On January 19, 2015, I began to make this vision a reality. I realize that being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc. is already tough but becoming a woman in a male dominated field, such as the military, can be even tougher and to transition from one phase of life to another, can be a very difficult task when family members, i.e., children are involved. Having been there with personal experience, and understanding, Sister Soldiers, Inc. was born.