Brook Harless

US Army, Germany, 1997-99

Brook’s journey began in Canton where she was born into a difficult situation. Her mother was a drug addict and she and Brook were often homeless, begging for or stealing food to survive. After years of neglect and physical abuse at the hands of her mother, at the age of eleven Brook was abandoned by her mother. After three days of seeking shelter under a freeway overpass Brook was discovered by the police. She was adopted by her elderly aunt and uncle. After a long period of recovery Brook began to thrive.

She attended both Canton South and East Canton high schools graduating from East in 1994. During her high school years, Brook was elected queen, was a Girls State Delegate and ran several events in track.

She moved to Texas and attended Central Texas College. Joining the military was always on Brook’s mind while in high school, so when she met and married an Army soldier, it was an easy decision to join the Army to be with him.  She signed up to be trained as a 71-Lima, Administration Specialist, as the skills would transfer well when she returned to civilian life. Brook completed basic and AIT at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, coming in first in her class and was promoted to Private First Class.

Next stop was Kitzingen, Germany where she was assigned to be the executive assistant to the Battalion Commander and Command Sergeant Major of the 701st Main Support Battalion. Brook spent two years writing correspondence, setting up and maintained logs, rosters, status boards, charts, graphs and composed PowerPoint slideshows for presentations. She was also able to implement a battalion wide newsletter delivered to over 1300 personnel. Two training injuries that had occurred during AIT would eventually affect Brook to the point she was classified as disabled, resulting in the end of her military career. 

Returning to Texas, Brook was employed by Central Texas College writing tests for online students. She earned an associate degree at Central in 2001. Brook continued her education at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor earning a BA degree in History, 2003 and another BA in English 2003.

While living in Texas, an intruder broke into Brook’s home, attacking her aunt and herself. Brook was left severely wounded and spent the next seven months in the hospital recovering. 

In 2003 Brook gave birth to her son Mason, while living in Maryland where her husband served at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. While there, Brook served as the head of the base family support groups. When her marriage dissolved, she returned to Ohio. It was here she met and married her current, very supportive and loving, husband Steve. After difficult pregnancies they have added Brantley and Weston to their family. Physical challenges have resulted in numerous surgeries over the years, but Brook has remained positive and mentally strong through it all.

Through the years she has dedicated her time aside from her family to serving veterans. An example of this is her time spent as Vice President of the Serving Area Military Center which works to improve the lives of active duty members, veterans and military widows. Brook has worked with the Red Cross, Concerned Veterans for America, American Legion, NE Ohio Women Veterans Council, Ohio Veterans Coalition, just to name a few organizations focused on veteran’s needs.

As a result of her work and dedication Brook was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame and was chosen to represent Ohio in Washington D.C., this coming April, as Mother of the Year, by the American Mothers Inc.

Brook looks forward to many more years raising her young family and serving her state, and it’s numerous veterans.