Charlie and Jane Brookman
Charlie was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia. His father died one month before he was born. His young life was a difficult one. He had to go to work at an early age to support his mother. He started working for a trucking company full time when he was 18. In later years he also built several houses. When his back could no longer take the trucking industry, he took early retirement at 50. He then went to work for Roanoke City Schools in the Maintenance Dep’t. He worked full time there until he was 62 and after that part-time until he was 70.
Jane was born in Lexington, KY and grew up in Wise County in far southwestern Virginia on the KY border. She attended Radford University earning a B.S. in Education and earned her Master’s from Hollins University. She was an elementary teacher in Roanoke City Public Schools for 32 years. The last 7 years of her career was as Technology Specialist for the Special Education Dep’t of Roanoke City Schools.
Charlie has been dealing with disabling conditions for 12 years. Back surgery was necessary and he has long bars in his back that limit his mobility. 10 years ago his Age Related Macular Degeneration became so bad that he was officially declared Legally Blind. Jane’s experience working with adaptations for SPED children has helped in acquiring helpful technologies and teaching him to use them.
Charlie and Jane Brookman have been married for 41 years. He is also the brother of Christina’s grandfather.
I am Nicholas. I struggle with invisible pain in the form of extreme anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. My first panic attack onset was when I was a Research Associate in Washington, D.C. I was going about my day; and, my supervisor had to walk me to the hospital. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Political Science from James Madison University; and a Master’s Degree from George Washington University. I just want you all to know that everyone can experience pain - physically, mentally, etc. I had a fantastic CBT therapist in DC, and I just want to let you all know that there are means to control and/or mitigate it! No one is perfect!!!”