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NEWS | Oct. 23, 2012

Public Affairs chief receives honorary black belt

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Rose Alexander, 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs chief of external operations, received an honorary USA Taekwondo black belt from Grand Master Ray Smith, 8th degree Taekwondo Black Belt, at the Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C. Oct. 22.

According to Smith, Taekwondo is one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, it teaches more than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows ways of enhancing the human spirit and life through training the body and mind. Today, it has become a global sport that has gained an international reputation, and stands among the official games in the

In the past, the only members of the community recognized as an honorary black belt in South Carolina were the 114th and 115th state governors, Jim Hodges and Mark Sanford.

"Rose works to bring community and civic leaders together so we can understand the challenges faced at JB Charleston," said Smith, a previous Charleston honorary commander and current member of the Charleston advisory council. "She coordinates all the events that bring us together to support the active, retired, disabled and the fallen American service members."

"This was a complete surprise to me," said Alexander. "I am humbled and truly honored to have received this recognition."

However, an honorary fourth degree black belt isn't given without a qualification. Prior to receiving her black belt, Alexander was challenged to break a wooden board by using only the palm of her hand.

Surrounded by family and co-workers, Alexander proved she was not only ready for the challenge by annihilating the board, but deserving of wearing the honorary black belt.

According to Smith, Alexander received an Honorary Black Belt from USA Taekwondo as a way to recognize her passion to God, Country and Community. It's those three components that have bridged the JB Charleston community with the local community for years.

"Rose has spent her life improving the lives of others both directly and indirectly," said Smith. "Rose is a person of great character and has shown the qualities of vision, integrity, courage, understanding and the power of
communication. She has never been one to "toot" her own horn. Instead, she always looks for ways to let others see the sunshine."

In addition to her ongoing dedication to the local community, Alexander and her family have been dedicated to the world of Taekwondo for many years.

Her son, Charles Alexander, Jr., is a nationally recognized Taekwondo black belt and her grandson, Alex Cheatham, although legally blind, has overcome every obstacle and has excelled in Taekwondo.

"I have always believed that with a strong enough will, the belief in yourself and faith in God, you can accomplish what sometimes seems to be the impossible. Taekwondo was the catalyst that helped my son gain self-confidence to overcome his disabilities and excel in school as well as in Taekwondo. And it is doing the same for Alex as he builds his self-confidence," said Alexander.

"She is a remarkable lady," said Smith. "When she retires, she will leave JB Charleston and our community better off than what it was when she came. Her impact on all of us has been great. I am a better man because of knowing and working with Rosetta Alexander."