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American Military, Racism, Personal journey, Vietnam war, Healthcare, Empowerment, Christian life

Overcoming Adversity
Resetting Goals by Nelson J Fowlkes


of a highly educated military veteran and health executive who overcame an unusual childhood, inter-city life and challenges circumstances. Before the passage of Civil Rights, 1964, He, like many others, experienced barriers of institutional racism. In 1957, after graduating with an academic degree in chemistry, a major auto manufacturing company would not offer him employment for a skill the company needed. In the same year, a major Midwestern university honored him with a work study grant to pursue graduate chemistry studies, but no chemistry professor at the university would accept him into a study group. At that point, Fowlkes changed his future direction and chose military service as his career. His goal was to serve twenty years and earn retirement, but in 1975, He was terminated from military service after serving seven- teen years of faithful and exemplary services to his country. His termination was unlawful and without merit, because a promotion board failed to follow military promotion policy. With courage, faith and family support, joined a class action suit with other affected military officers and filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the military. In 1980, the lawsuit was won. The court ordered all rights and benefits of a twenty year career is restored. He dealt with a myriad of adversities, through the use of different gateways to success and opportunity. Hopefully his story will illustrate that trust and faith in God, courage, commitment, determination and perseverance made him stronger in character, and better able to face future situations head on. Since the 2016 election, the slogan “Make America Great Again” has as its goal to return America to past decades, where bold and accepted demonstration of racism, xenophobia, and denigration of all who speak for truth and right. Each of us will encounter some type of adversity in life. In spite of the situation, you must remain diligent to seek alternative ways to achieve your goals and dreams. Sometime the best way around a roadblock is going straight through it!

Nelson J Fowlkes photo

NELSON FOWLKES is a retired Lt. Colonel, who served in the Medical Service Corps, United States Army for twenty years and went on to complete two careers in the healthcare industry, the first in healthcare strategic planning and marketing and the second as a health care executive who managed primary care clinics. Fowlkes is co-author of a Corporate Health Risk Management Program that was published in the Journal of Health Care Marketing. Fowlkes also designed and created a Territorial Sales Management System (TSS), an innovative approach apply- ing traditional risk management to the health of an employee group to which the Library of Congress issued a Certificate of Copyright Registration.

Adhering to Christian principles and gaining knowledge through education was the essence of his character and value development which began in an agriculture setting with surrogate parents in Curryville, Georgia, a minister, farmer and school teacher respectively. Most of Fowlkes value modeling period occurred with his biological mother in Chattanooga, Tennessee and continued when he lived with an uncle and aunt in Cleveland, Ohio after high school graduation.

Through trust and faith in God, self-confidence and perseverance, Nelson rose above a poverty stricken and dysfunctional family to achieve multiple academic degrees. No one in Fowlkes family had achieved more than a high school education. His mother was a smart woman who did not reach her potential.

Acquiring an education became a life-long endeavor that began in early child development and continue through value modeling development. He first earned a Bachelor Degree in chemistry with honor. Then later a Master Degree in Biochemistry, Master Degree in Public Administration, Certificate in Gerontology and Certificate in Conflict Resolution.


Nelson J Fowlkes

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