“I started at the VA as an MSA. I spoke with Veterans and tried calming them down before they spoke with providers. I was going through therapy and later recommended to become a peer specialist,” said Rosalyn.
She has been referred to as “the cat’s meow” among her peer support specialists because of her commitment to serving her brothers and sisters in arms. Her dedication to serving her fellow Veterans, among other things, is why Ms. Rosalyn L. Williams is the 2022 Peer Specialist of the Year awardee for the VA Southeast Network. Ms. Williams works with the Atlanta VA Health Care System’s Trauma Recovery Program. She was selected from eight candidates and is the first female from the Atlanta VA to be recognized in our region for Peer Specialist of the Year.
The retired Master Sergeant spent 30 years in the Air Force. As a Military Sexual Trauma survivor, she is determined to be a voice for other MST survivors and to ensure they are aware of available resources within the VA and the local community.
“Ms. Williams goes out of her way to share her story of recovery appropriately with Veterans both in groups and in individual settings,” said Dr. Lauren Ramshur, Medical Director of the Trauma Recovery Program at the Henderson Mill Building of Atlanta VAHCS. “She has a talent of linking Veterans with whatever support they need both in the VA and the community, and will often seek the assistance of peer specialists in other programs and outside the Atlanta VA if it will assist a Veteran.”
According to Dr. Ramshur, Williams has been the "face" of VA for Veterans at many various events.
“This year, she participated in VetLanta Q2 Mega Summit. She represented as a peer support specialist and several sexual assault awareness events, including one at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in April. She was sought out as a speaker for a Nursing program (VANAOP) in August 2021, and she co-facilitates a yearly PTSD Course for Emory Students. Several of the events above have occurred on weekends and after hours, and she had gladly participated on her own time.”
“Rosalyn is a shining example of a Peer Specialist’s work in support of the Veterans we serve. She is not only spoken of highly by her team but also by the Veterans she serves and the peer specialist she works with. I can’t say enough about Rosalyn and her amazing work as a peer specialist,” Dr. Ramshur added.
Williams says she had the ability to connect with and assist Veterans in distress no matter her role at the VA.
“I started at the VA as a Medical Support Assistant. I spoke with Veterans and tried calming them down before they spoke with providers. I was going through therapy at the time, and it was later recommended that I become a peer specialist,” she said.
If there were one message Williams could share with other Veterans who are thinking about seeking mental health care at the VA, it would be, “Recovery is possible. I am living proof of it," said the North Carolina native.
Rosalyn’s name was recently submitted to VA’s Central Office for the national award. VHA’s Peer Specialist of the Year will be selected in October.