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Mona Gunn devoted 31 years to public education and retired in 2006 as an elementary school principal. Most of her years in education were with Norfolk Public Schools. But she also spent three years as a teacher in Meridian, Mississippi. She received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Norfolk State University in 1974 and a M.S. in Educational Administration from Old Dominion University in 1997. After retiring in 2006 from Fairlawn Elementary, she obtained her Virginia real estate license and was a realtor with Rose and Womble Realty in Virginia Beach. She worked for this company for 7 years before taking on a new mission. On October 12, 2000, her middle son, SMSN Cherone Louis Gunn was one of the 17 sailors killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. This was a life-changing event for the family. In 2004, she joined American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.