MacDill 1st sergeant to hold book signing
by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Finding the time to mow your lawn can be a challenge for some due to the current high operations tempo in the Air Force, but the first sergeant for the 6th Operations Group found time in his hectic schedule to write and publish a motivational book about his own life.
Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley will hold a book signing at the Sweet Serennah Bakery and Comfy Café in Ybor City Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. He said the book, "You Can't Run Away From You, A Young Man's Journey to Himself," is about overcoming the problems people create for themselves.
"(The book) is about being courageous enough to look at yourself, blemishes and all, and to take those blemishes and turn them into something positive," said Sergeant Brinkley with contagious enthusiasm.
Though not written as an autobiographical success story, the book focuses on the life lessons Sergeant Brinkley learned through trial and error. It chronicles his life from childhood, when he was quarantined for six months due to Tuberculosis, through various assignments around the globe as an Airman.
Though tenacious and passionate about his convictions, Sergeant Brinkley is friendly and outgoing. His youthful appearance and easy smile belie his age, but he has been in the Air Force 20 years, holding a variety of leadership positions. He said it's a far cry from what could have been if he hadn't enlisted.
"There were a lot of bad influences around when I was 18," he recalled with a distant look. "I knew then that I wasn't mature enough or dedicated enough to go to college. I would've ended up as a career student. I needed something to give me a new perspective."
He rose through the enlisted ranks quicker than most; making master sergeant after only nine years. He said that's when he made the decision to stop trying to make rank and start trying to make a difference. When he was only 28 years old, he was the Air Force's youngest first sergeant.
"I decided if I was serious about making a difference I would have to go off the beaten path," said Sergeant Brinkley, explaining why he has spent the past 10 years as a first sergeant.
The trials and tribulations he faced through the years, as well as helping others deal with their problems began to take a toll on him a few years ago. He said he felt as though there were areas in his private life that continued to haunt him even though his career seemed to be a success.
"I was tired of having momentum but not going anywhere," he said of his own personal issues. "I began writing as a way to purge myself."
After some close friends read his journals, they began to push him to write the book. So he did his homework and found the resources to start his own publishing company, Darnell Publishing.
He hired a professional editor and with help from various online resources, his self-help book can be purchased online at www.abrink.com.
According to the Web site, "This real-life story will take you through many emotional peaks and valleys as the odyssey of Anthony will grip you and have you wonder what's going to happen next. As he continues to run from situation to situation, it becomes painfully clear that he cannot factor out or elude the man in the mirror."
Sergeant Brinkley has dedicated countless hours to helping those near and far, not only as a 1st sergeant but as an ordained minister. His activities include counseling local young men on the challenges of life to organizing clothing drives for orphans living in other countries.
Since his book has been published, there have been several requests by aspiring writers to publish their stories, but Sergeant Brinkley said he has a better idea.
"I would rather teach them to do it. Why do something for someone when they can do it for themselves?" he asked with a smile.
He currently is working on a book of poetry and doesn't seem to be slowing down or overloaded. The challenges and struggles Sergeant Brinkley has faced are similar to the problems many face every day. But he seems to have used those burdens to make himself stronger.