Sonie Wesley, now Sonie Robinson, graduated from Mountain Valley High School in 2002 and then completed eight years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant.

Sgt. Wesley explained, “I decided to join the army for the experience, camaraderie, traveling, and assistance with college expenses.

Growing up I did not have a big support system. By joining the military, I experienced the feeling of being part of a family; which is something I never had. I wanted to make something of myself and experience the world, and that’s just what I did!”

Her primary job was carpentry and masonry. She said, “I helped to build schools and clinics during my deployment to Mosul, Iraq.”

Sgt. Wesley began her service at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for basic training. Advanced Individual Training (AIT) was at Gulfport, MS, then Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC) at Fort Hood, TX. She was deployed to Mosul, Iraq and volunteered for Hurricane Katrina and Rita Relief Project.

From her experiences with travel and being part of a “family,” Sgt. Wesley learned an important life lesson. “You can never take life for granted. Just when you think life is tough, there is always someone else that is struggling more. I cherish every day as though it were my last. I have learned from my mistakes, gained knowledge from my experiences, and have accepted the choices that I have made. I am proud of where I am and who I have chosen to become!”

Sgt. Wesley also has some advice to pass on to military families. “To families that are separated from their loved ones in the military, writing and receiving packages is what keeps us connected to home. I remember waiting for mail time, praying that there would be a letter for me. It’s also important to not get caught up in watching the news or paying attention to social media. It will drive you crazy.

Stay connected with your loved one the best you can. Try to stay positive and continue to count down the days until you are together again. Every day is one step closer.”

After her discharge, Sgt. Wesley says “I married an amazing man, Joshua Robinson, and we started a family. I am now a proud mother of two beautiful, healthy and happy kids. My daughter Ellie is three years old and my son Cole is a year. I am currently focused on being a mom and going to school to be a nurse.”

Sgt. Wesley acknowledges a very important person, “To my brother John Wesley who lives in Carmel; I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for always having my back and supporting me in all that I do!”