Committee’s Newsletter for October, 2011

November 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Here we go, the weather is totally changing like from day to day, I can’t remember ever having a snowfall in October and we had 5 inches here in Winchester, Virginia. Wherever you are in this great nation, I hope that you remain safe and watch the roads on days like today.

MIDDLETOWN, VIRGINIA (October 4, 2011) One of the many things that make this job so good is to hear where local community organizations, colleges, or just the veterans themselves for what their hard work and the College provides, just as I hear and been told that schooling is hard work.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) received word that they had been recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School for 2012. This designation is the result of research into the policies of 8,000 postsecondary institutions by G.I. Jobs. The magazine focuses on helping military troops in their transition to civilian life. To be designated, a school must make the top 20 percent of schools that have taken additional action to help returning veterans.

At LFCC, we consider helping veterans and their dependents achieve their educational goals to be an important service,” stated Tina Anderson, Military/Veterans’ Coordinator at LFCC. “We are committed to ensuring that they receive the support towhich they are entitled.” In talking with Ms Anderson today, I found out that she has a phrase she came across and it really sums up the whole concept, see what you think,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

For more information about LFCC’s program for veterans and their families, contact Tina Anderson at (540) 868-7107 or

Tina Anderson (left) and LFCC President Cheryl Thompson-Stacy display the Certificate they were given from G. I. Jobs Magazine. (Photo by Scott Mason, Winchester Star)

What also make this a special event were two female veterans that attend the Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) Veterans program that is provided and their thought on what this program means to them and what they feel about attending the College.

Melanie Thornberg was in the Coast Guard for nine years when she decided to go wanted to go back to school.

“I went from someone telling me what to wear and what to eat to being on my own,” she said. “You don’t even know what to wear on the first day of being a civilian.”

Lord Fairfax Community College made the transition easier, according to the 33-year-old mother of three. The college offered her the help of a veterans representative to connect her to services, and disability accommodations, which included ways to complete classes at home and provided injury-sensitive desks and chairs. “Not too many places recognize and appreciate vets,” she said. “But LFCC does.” Thornberg is not the only one to recognize LFCC’s veteran services.

Military veterans Tina Daniels (left) and Melanie Thornberg talk about how Lord Fairfax Community College has helped them. (Photo by Scott Mason, Winchester Star)

Tina Daniels, 47, was in the Navy for three years when she arrived at LFCC. Her story is similar to Thornberg’s. She, too, received disability accommodations for her post traumatic stress disorder, including extra time on tests, along with counseling and help from staff.

“Professors really do work with you on your disabilities,” she said. “Despite the fact that I have a disability, I’m still able to go to school.”

To be designated, a school must make the top 20 percent of schools that have taken additional action to help returning veterans. “It’s about how to get military experience translated into college credit,” said Tina Anderson, assistant registrar and the LFCC vet rep.

LFCC offers scholarships and tuition discounts to military students and veterans and in-state tuition without residency requirements for military students and dependants. The school also allows military students who are called to active service return without penalty and offers financial assistance to military spouses.

LFCC also provides support and social services to its vets, including counselors to help with career placement, a group to plan campus and social networking events for veterans, and a veteran-specific page on its website. LFCC is one of 1,900 colleges and universities that belong to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium – a group of military-friendly institutions with flexible policies that allow mobile service members and their families to complete degrees rather than just accumulate course credit.

We at the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing say that congratulations go to both groups, first Lord Fairfax Community College for being the receiptants of the recognition by the G. I. Jobs magazine, and for our veterans attending school that they feel so secure with their medical issues that the College provides for all their needs while attending classes and provide whatever assistance the veterans need in their courses. Congratulations and job well done for all involved.


Portsmouth-based soldier dies in Iraq

Staff Sgt. James R. Leep died on Oct. 17

BABIL PROVINCE, IRAQ (WAVY) - The National Guard confirmed Tuesday that Staff Sgt. James R. Leep died of non-combat related injuries in Babil Province, Iraq on October 17. Leep, 44, was based in Portsmouth with the 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team. Leep served as a combat engineer and construction equipment supervisor. He was re-assigned to Troop A as a truck commander for the unit’s convoy security mission. Lepp was also the commander of a convoy escort team. “It is very sad that this has happened and difficult to think of the appropriate words to say

that would relieve the pain and suffering hat his family feels,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “Soldier and family care are very important, and we intend to do everything we can to support his family and the men and women that deployed with him. We ask that his community and the rest of Virginia keep his family in their prayers in their time of grief”. Leep of Davenport, Virginia is survived by his wife and two adult children’s; He joined the National Guard in April 1986.

Leep first joined the National Guard in April 1986 and served on active duty from December 1987 to August 1995 as a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic, the Virginia National Guard news release said. He rejoined in January 1996 and worked as a combat engineer and construction equipment supervisor. He worked full time as surface maintenance repairer technician for the Virginia National Guard at field maintenance shop #14 in Richland’s.

His previous deployments include Bosnia from September 2001 to April 2002, Iraq from December 2003 to March 2005, the southwest U.S. border security mission from June to August 2006, and Afghanistan from November 2008 to January 2010. More than 825 soldiers from across Virginia were deployed to Iraq this summer as Task Force 183 under the command of the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Calvary Regiment. They are conducting convoy security and base defense operations. After training at Camp Atterbury for almost two months, the unit arrived in Iraq at the end of July.

The Portsmouth squadron, which includes units from Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, will be joined by two companies of soldiers from Fredericksburg and a third from

Christiansburg. This was the single largest Virginia Army National Guard unit mobilization since Sept. 11, 2001.


The reporting of our brave men and women that serves our great nation each and every day and to hear that one of them has fallen in our latest conflict, I feel that we at the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing are honoring them with their story and we salute them and want their families to know that we care and offer our condolences to them.

See you next month.

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