Grad learned not to ignore opportunities
Catherine Blount Forsyth, who graduated from Marion High School along with her twin sister, Suzanne, in 1996, never thought she’d end up where she now is.
“Sometimes life takes you on a very odd path that you never wanted to be on, and you are very happy there,” Forsyth said. “Don’t discount the opportunities that come in front of you.”
Forsyth really didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life when she was in high school.
“I honestly had no clue,” she said. “I stayed back at Butler for a year and decided I wanted to do broadcast journalism.”
After an internship following around a broadcast journalist, she decided that wasn’t the thing.
“It was the working all day for 10 seconds of air time that got me,” Forsyth said. “Essentially the only people who got credit were the anchors. She walked in like a pampered poodle.”
Forsyth switched her focus to advertising.
She went to the University of Kansas, where Suzanne was studying under a Marine Corps scholarship.
Oddly enough, Suzanne didn’t end up in the military.
Catherine couldn’t find a job in sales right away. Sales jobs in Lawrence were few and far between. Nothing was panning out.
She joined the Kansas Army National Guard in 2000 and eventually became a helicopter pilot. Now, at the rank of Major, she is Equal Opportunity Program manager for the Missouri Army National Guard.
She was inspired to join the guard by her husband, David Forsyth. Forsyth was a Guardsman until a 2001 injury left him disabled.
Forsyth said her training in advertising has been an asset in her military career.
“It has actually done more for my career than if I’d been a biology grad,” she said.
In advertising, words must be concise. That’s also how it is with military orders.
“Advertising is about a very short message,” Forsyth said. “You chose your words and everything is very concisely written. In military, everything is short messages and concise writing is very important.”
“I might retire this fall, but that’s not decided,” she said.
She and her husband recently bought a 260-acre farm in Virginia.
“The mission of that acreage is set up a place for disabled veterans,” she said. “We searched the whole country for that property.”
She said her career has been huge and varied, but she found her true calling in the military, and the mission of the Guard.
She took advanced math and science courses at Marion High School. She also was in FFA and athletics. She said the courses she took at Marion make the school rank high in her mind.
“I would say it’s one of the best in the state,” Forsyth said. “The teachers, when you walk in, if you want to learn, you learn.”