Posted on January 4, 2021
Melissa Wheeler is our Veteran of the Week! Senior Master Sergeant Melissa K. Wheeler is an intricate part of the 20th Fighter Wing Commander’s Action Group, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. She proudly serves as a direct liaison between the wing commander and the following: Air Force, Air Combat Command, 9th Air Force, 4 groups, 18 squadrons, 22 tenant units, and 19 Wing Staff Agencies consisting of 8000 members.
Sergeant Wheeler was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 4, 1972. She attended Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, graduating in May 1990. A couple years after graduation, she enlisted in the Air Force in June 1992.
At Osan AB, Korea in 2000 she was awarded the NCO of the Year for 2000. After a 1-year tour in Korea, she was off to Ramstein AB, Germany. Sergeant Wheeler’s travel opportunity grew tremendously when she was assigned to the USAFE Inspector General. They inspected every base in Europe and traveled 300 out of 365 days of the year. She then was hired to be the Trip Coordinator for the USAFE Commander in 2003. After a year, she was ready to move on to the next challenge. Staying at Ramstein AB, she then took a job at USAFE Public Affairs as the NCOIC, Client Support Administrator. Her excellence continued as she garnered the Public Affairs NCO of the Year for 2004 and USAFE’s Volunteer of the Quarter in 2005.
Sergeant Wheeler deployed in 2006 to Phoenix Base in Baghdad Iraq where she served as the Protocol Officer for the Commanding General, Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq. This was her first joint assignment and where she learned to appreciate all branches of service.
After being overseas for 10 years, Wheeler was assigned to Shaw AFB, South Carolina. Sergeant Wheeler first started off assigned to the 20th Operations Support Squadron and served as the First Sergeant for all the Airmen in the 20th Operations Group to include the 3 fighter squadrons, 55 FS, 77 FS and 79 FS. She was the very first core First Sergeant for the Red Flag Exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada. She was so successful, ACC decided to benchmark her efforts and added a First Sergeant position for future Red Flag Exercises.
Sergeant Wheeler then moved to the 20th Security Forces Squadron in 2011 and deployed to an Undisclosed Location in Kuwait. In 2012, she was recognized for her exceptional leadership skills and was assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, the largest single-first sergeant unit in the wing. Her selfless dedication to duty and her commitment to her Airmen was once again recognized when she was named the 20th Fighter Wing’s First Sergeant of the Year for 2012. After a 20-month stint in Maintenance, Sergeant Wheeler moved to the 20th Communications Squadron for a couple months to help out until the inbound First Sergeant arrived. She then moved to the 20th Civil Engineering Squadron in 2014 and deployed to Al Udeid AB, Qatar prior to ending her 7-year run as a First Sergeant. In 2015, she returned to her original career field, and enjoyed her time in the 20th Fighter Wing’s Commander’s Action Group. Thank you for your service, SMG Wheeler!
December 29, 2020
Samuel Allmond is our “Veteran of the Week.” Colonel Allmond has served in the Army for 23 years as an intelligence officer.
Allmond's deployments include Iraq, Desert Shield and Desert Storm as well as twice to Korea. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Service Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze service stars, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Global War on Terrorism, Korean Defense Service Medal, and three Overseas Service ribbons.
Allmond currently lives in South Carolina at the Army Central Command USARCENT as the Deputy G6 for Operations Division. Thank you for your service, COL Allmond!
December 21, 2020
Christine K. Rogers is our “Veteran of the Week.” First Sergeant Rogers spent 30 years in the Army, 22.5 on active duty.
Rogers deployments and awards include OIF (2004-2005), OEF (2013-2014). Detailed 1SG for 489th EN, Antiterrorism officer. Bronze Star, Army Commendation Award (5), numerous other awards and commendations.
Rogers currently lives in NE Columbia, SC but originally from Washington, Illinois. She graduated from Ashford University Magna Cum Laude with BA in Social and Criminal Justice. She was also inducted into the Veterans National Honors Society (Salute) and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Rogers would also like to note, “My greatest accomplishment in life has been to raise two beautiful and smart daughters.”
After retirement she joined Eglin, SC VFW 11079, now the Commander.
She is a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, chapter 34-1.
She is always searching for volunteer opportunities to fill her time and has signed up for Meals on Wheels. She believes our elders should always be cared for and looked after and it gives me honor to do this. She enjoys working with veterans at the BRBR (Big Red Barn Retreat) through being a peer to peer facilitator and help with the Warrior PATHH by assisting with preparing and serving meals to WP participants.
Thank you for your service, First Sergeant Rogers!
December 14, 2020
Bryan Hilferty is our “Veteran of the Week.” Hilferty served in the Army and retired in 2012 as an Infantry and Public Affairs Officer.
His tours and deployments include Desert Shield/Desert Storm, OEF 1, OEF 3, OSS. For his service, he received many notable awards, which include Legion of Merit (x2), Bronze Star (x3), Meritorious Service Medal (x6), Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger, Airborne.
He began his notable career by attending basic training in Alabama and graduating Ranger School as the Distinguished Honor Graduate. He then spent 6 months in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait in Desert Shield/Storm as a Platoon leader in 5th Battalion, 18th Infantry. He also conducted thousands of news conferences and interviews in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2003-4 as Director of Communications and Spokesman for all coalition forces there, served in the Pentagon as spokesman for all Army personnel issues 2004-07, designed West Point's current logo, and initiated their new $20 million visitors center as Director of Communications in 2007-9. He ended his career as Director of Communications for the US Army Europe and finally US Army Central.
Hilferty currently lives in Sumter, South Carolina and is the Strategic Communications Advisor to the Commander, U.S. Army Central. He also serves on the boards of the Sumter Rotary Club, the Association of the U.S. Army Palmetto State Chapter, and Gateway to the Army, which is building Centennial Park at Fort Jackson. He is married with three children.
Thank you for your service!
Posted on December 7, 2020
Roxann Yarborough James is our "Veteran of the Week." She is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, James D. Wessinger Chapter 19, Chester, SC where she serves as Adjutant and District 5 Commander. Her membership eligibility is based on her distinguished service in the USAF 1974-1979 and NCANG 1988-2002 where she was medically retired.
Mar 22, 1974 she left for basic training in Lackland AFB, TX; “3743 WAF Trng” Squadron, technical school in Biloxik then to HQ Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) as a Information Specialist. NCANG 1988-2002 Financial Services; Charlotte, NC. James deployed during Operations Readiness Exercises; ANG Top Dollar Contingency Training Exercise; Operation Northern Watch, Incirlik, Turkey Dec 1999. Her military associations include North Carolina National Guard Association(NCNGA), highest level obtained as Vice President; Enlisted Association of National Guard of US, (EANGUS) NC Chairman, Co-partnered the Women’s Leadership “lunch and learn” program and DAV Chapter 19.
Her medals include the Air Force Commendation Medal with the oak leaf cluster for meritorious service 1994-99. Thank you for your service, Roxann!
Posted on November 30, 2020
Daniel Hennigan is our "Veteran of The Week." Dan served in the Army and retired in 1984 as a commissioned officer career after serving in combat during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and as a company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps.
Since retiring his service to the Palmetto State has had no limits, his dedication to serving those who have served is nothing short of admirable. Dan serves as the Co-chair for the Midlands Veterans Engagement Council and trusted advisor to the Columbia VA Health Care System Director, Dr. David Omura. Dan is an executive board member of The Celebrate Freedom Foundation providing educational outreach in a program that focuses on science and technology, engineering and math (STEM). Dan serves as an executive board member of the South Carolina Honor Flights for World War II veterans, Co-chair of the Friends of Fisher House Fundraising program, and vice president of corporate membership for the AUSA Fort Jackson chapter.
Dan was selected by the adjutant general in Army National Guard as volunteer of the year in 2013 for his selfless support of the South Carolina National Guard. Dan is the Founder of South Carolina Midlands First Responder's memorial and is also the founder of 9/11 Remembrance Foundation of South Carolina. He was inducted into the Fort Jackson Hall of Fame in 2016 three years after being named volunteer of the year by the adjutant general in Army National Guard as well as being named South Carolina National Guard state ambassador. Dan was recently recognized and awarded the SC Governor Order of the Palmetto Award on 9/11/2020.
Thank you for your continued inspiration and service, Daniel Hennigan.
Posted on November 23, 2020
First Lieutenant Benjamin Fowler is our “Veteran of the Week.” Fowler is currently in his eleventh year of service in the Marine Corps. He enlisted in August of 2010 as a F-18 engine mechanic and was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan and Beaufort South Carolina with multiple tours to Southeast Asia. In 2015 Sgt. Fowler went into the reserves to pursue a degree in exercise science and was an active member in the Student Veterans Association (SVA) at the University of South Carolina. Fowler started in the officer candidate program through the Columbia office in the spring of 2018 and commissioned as a Lieutenant in August. Currently Fowler is stationed with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines and returned 2 months ago from a deployment in Norway as a Rifle Platoon Commander. Now he is transferring to be the Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAT) Commander at Camp Lejeune. Ben currently lives in Jacksonville, NC with his fiancé and is set to get married in January. Thank you for your service Lieutenant Fowler!
Posted on November 16, 2020
Corporal Kyle Carpenter is our veteran of the week. Carpenter is well known for being the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. His Medal of Honor citation reads, “...Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine…”
Kyle Carpenter graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017 and now is an accomplished author and motivational speaker. “You Are Worth It” is now on the Commandant’s reading list after it was published in 2019. Thank you for your service.
Posted on November 9, 2020
Lieutenant General Robert “Bob” Caslen Jr. is currently the University of South Carolina’s 29thPresident and former superintendent and president of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. LTG Caslen was recruited to play football for West Point and after graduation in 1975 he served 43 years in the Army, retiring in 2018. During that time, he went on seven tours and fighting in four wars; Gulf War, Kosovo War, Afghanistan War and Iraq War.
Caslen has served in many assignments; the Commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, KS, Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and Commanding General of the Multi-National Division-North during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Commandant of Cadets for the U.S. Military Academy; Deputy Director for the War on Terrorism, J-5, The Joint Staff; Assistant Division Commander (maneuver), 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized); Chief of Staff, 10th Mountain Division (Light); and Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force Mountain during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Caslen was Commander, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Chief of Staff, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Senior Brigade C2 Observer/Controller, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center; Commander, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (Light); Executive Officer to the Deputy Commander in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy; J-3 in Honduras for Joint Task Force Bravo; Brigade Operations Officer, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); and Executive Officer, 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and as the Chief of Office of Security Operation-Iraq.
LTG Caslen’s awards, medals, badges and tabs are as follows: Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious, Service Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal (Yugoslavia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Joint Meritorious Unit Award with 3, Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, NATO ISAF Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
LTG Caslen has been married to his wife, Shelly Caslen, for 42 years and have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren. A true American hero; Lieutenant General Caslen, Thank you for your service.
Posted on November 2, 2020
Sgt. Jared Evans is a Recon Marine, combat-action OIF veteran who served from September 25, 2004-September 25, 2009.
Jared was born and raised in the Midlands and a two-time graduate from the University of South Carolina. He currently serves as the Director of Military Engagement and Veteran Initiatives for the University. Jared says, “My commitment to serving those who serve has been my mindset and approach to life since enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2005…I have had the privilege of carrying that mission forward, since returning to Columbia.”
Among many accolades, Evans is a founding member of the Veterans Alumni Council, USC My Carolina Alumni Association, founding board member, SC Veterans Higher Education Group and the Co-Director of USC’s Veteran’s Day 5k. He also serves as a board member for the 9/11 Remembrance Foundation of South Carolina, Friends of Fisher House of Columbia, Military Veterans Engagement Council for Dorn VA Hospital and Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers 5k Walk and Run.
Jared has been selected as an honoree for The State’s Top 20 Under 40 and the Columbia Business Monthly Best & Brightest 35 & Under. When Jared is not working or volunteering, he loves spending time with his beautiful wife, Leah, and being a girl dad to his three amazing daughters, Brinley, Marley and Sutton.
Thank you for your service Sgt. Jared Evans.
Posted on October 26, 2020
Sgt. Clarence E. Hammett, Sr served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War with the A Co. 23rd Inf. Reg. 2nd Inf. Div. He participated in several battles including Heart Break Ridge.
Hammett received many notable awards during his service. He was awarded a Bronze Star, Combat Medic Badge, Korean Service Medal with 2 stars, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense with one star for his service to our Nation.
Sgt. Hammett served as cadre at West Point after he returned from the war in the summer of 1953 before his discharge where he returned to his home in Blacksburg, SC. He is a resident of Cherokee County but now resides in the Veterans Nursing home in Anderson, SC.
Mr. Hammett has served in many different positions with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of SC and currently is the President of the residents committee of the Richard M. Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson, SC.
Mr. Hammett has great dedication to his fellow Veterans and his Nation.
Posted on October 19, 2020
TerryLynn Di Chiara has been serving veterans for the last 28 years and now works for South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs since its birth in July of 2019. She comes from a very dense family of military. Di Chiara’s parents are veterans as well as her late husband, brother and now son who is serving in the Marine Corps.
The veterans and staff of the state truly appreciate the hard work and dedication she has given every day for 28 years. She was surrounded by military growing up and recognizes the importance of giving back. She has taken that and molded it into making the lives of veterans better. Veterans of South Carolina have been lucky to have her as a loyal supporter for almost three decades.
She now lives in Irmo, South Carolina. She is a proud mother and grandmother.
Posted on October 12, 2020
Tori Evans served in the Army for two years, and now serves on the civilian side as a photojournalist.
While in service, Evans served at the home of the Big Red One at Fort Riley, Kansas and enjoyed being on the culinary team during her service time. Evans also spent time training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Evans awards in uniform include National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Her awards as a volunteer include Public Service Commendation Medal (2), Commander’s Award for Public Service, Certificate of Achievement from CIMT Commander for Volunteer Service, Certificate of Appreciation from CG of Fort Jackson for Volunteer Service, Helping Hand Award (FRAL), Marne Spirit Award (FSGA), Order of St. Joan D’Arc Medallion.
Evans now serves the Army on the civilian side as a photojournalist documenting basic combat training. She started her service in 2013 and has contributed to telling the Army story at Fort Stewart, Fort Rucker, Fort Bragg, and Fort Jackson.
She currently lives at Fort Jackson, SC with her husband and two daughters.
Posted on October 5, 2020
Mr. James L. Greene was born in Aug 1950 in Sumter, SC to Mr. Clarence Greene and his wife, Mrs. Catherine Benlow Greene. James lived and worked in Sumter until graduating from High School and moving to Philadelphia, PA before being drafted by the Army in 1968.
Upon completion of his basic and advanced training, James deployed to Vietnam as a member of the famed 187th Infantry Regiment “Rakkasans” of the 101st Airborne Division. While assigned to Delta Company, 3rd Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, James served eight months in Vietnam, culminating with his service as an M-60 Machine Gunner in the battle for Hamburger Hill where he was evacuated on the eighth day of the fight after sustaining critical injuries from an enemy hand grenade.
Upon his return from Vietnam and subsequent convalescence from the injuries he sustained in combat, James attended Columbia Business College in Columbia, SC and worked as a cameraman for the local educational network television station.
As with many Soldiers returning from Vietnam, James found himself at times struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with few places to turn for treatment. After leaving his beloved career in TV and working to find his life’s calling, James and his bride Juliet decided to open a restaurant where James would resurrect his love for creating Southern BBQ.
Over the years that followed, James and Juliet along with friends and family built by-hand, brick-by-brick Greene’s BBQ in Columbia, SC. Today James, Juliet and their friends who help run Greene’s BBQ are pillars of their community where on Thursday nights they can be seen feeding those in need, a famous meal from Greene’s BBQ.
James Greene is a shining example of Service to his Nation, to his family and to his community. He is an active member of his local VFW Post and American Legion and a member of the Rakkasan Veteran’s Association with whom he returned to Vietnam in 2019 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Hamburger Hill.
Posted on September 28, 2020
Stephanie Wright proudly served in the U.S. Navy. She completed her first tour at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Guam, and then transferred to Naval Security Group Activity in Misawa, Japan. Her tours as an Information Warfare Officer included Navy Information Operations Command, Hawaii, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and U.S. Pacific Command. During these tours she served as the Intelligence Branch Chief on the first Cyber Support Element Team. Her final tour was with Navy Information Operation Command, Fort Gordon, Georgia where she retired.
For her notable contributions to the mission, she has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4).
Stephanie currently resides in North Augusta, South Carolina with her husband, also a U.S. Navy retiree, and her two sons. She is currently working for a notable law firm in Augusta, Georgia and is coordinating with local political leaders on Veteran mental health during transition from the military.
Posted on September 21, 2020
Cheryl L. Woodhouse is a native of Chicago and currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina. She served Basic Combat Training (A Co, 4th Bn. 1st Inf. Bde.), and Advanced Individual Training (D Co.11th Bn., 4th Inf. Bde.), both at Fort Jackson, SC. She was further assigned to Fort Story, in Virginia Beach, VA where she served as a 71L – Administrative Specialist with HHC, 11th Trans Bn. (Tml.). In pursuit of higher learning in her field, she was given a new duty as administrator of the Correctional Facility on Fort Story, VA which truly began her journey of having a massive heart to help Soldiers adapt and overcome to achieve success in the military.
After serving more than 30 years of military service at various stateside assignments, including overseas with temporary duty assignments in Germany, Australia, Italy, Spain, Paris, Amsterdam, and London; 1SG Cheryl Woodhouse toured the globe and left a mark of excellence along the way with many Soldiers and civilians she has worked with over the years. She was part of several organizational clubs and wears various medallions for excellence in Audie Murphy Club, Adjutant General Regimental Association (Bronze), to include the induction into the Order of Saint Maurice (Infantry School), by the Commandant of the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia.
Woodhouse is currently serving as the Public Affairs Specialist for the Columbia Recruiting Battalion at Fort Jackson. This current assignment allows her to connect with Soldiers and help in their mission to recruit the best prospects of future soldiers in today’s Army through various communications: TV, Radio, including social media.
Woodhouse has been married for 39 years to Earnest P. Woodhouse. Together they have two amazing sons: Montrel Woodhouse (graduate of Columbia State University – Masters in Communication) and Jarelle Woodhouse (former soldier/disabled Veteran and pursuing musical engineering). Woodhouse states, “we use the same values we both learned growing up in the military together, and instilled in our family teaching them integrity, values, self-less service, including knowing your worth and going after it without regret and knowing every mistake is a leap forward to greatness at some point.”
Posted on September 14, 2020
Few have personified "the few, the proud, the marines" as has Major James Capers, Jr. He participated in more than 50 missions in Vietnam and was a leader of "Team Broadminded." He repeatedly led his men in to and out of danger; he was always the last man to board the helicopter to safety. His men always came first.
Capers was born in Bishopville, South Carolina in the Jim Crow south. During the Vietnam War, just three generations removed from slavery. He became the first African-American to receive a battlefield commission as part of Marine Force Recon.
During his 22-years of service, Major Capers has been awarded the Silver Star; two Bronze Stars; and Combat V; four Purple Hearts; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry; a Joint Service Commendation Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; three Good Conduct Ribbons; Battle Stars; Navy Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal; CG Certificate of Merit; and multiple letters of Merit, Appreciation, and Commendation. There is a push for him to be awarded the Medal of Honor, but it is unknown whether it will happen during the Major’s lifetime. Capers turned 83-years-old last month.
Major Capers was honored weeks ago by the Lee County Veterans Museum (South Carolina Cotton Museum) in his hometown of Bishopville.
We thank the Lee County Veterans’ Affairs Office and the Cotton Museum for sending us information to honor Mr. Capers for his service.
Posted on September 8, 2020
Ethan James has served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps, and is currently the host of “The Soldier Salute” on 94.3 “The Dude” radio station that is played across the Midlands. The show honors military men and women across our state for their dedicated service.
James has had more than 50 distinguished guests on his show including President of The University of South Carolina, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Robert Caslen, Fort Jackson Commanding General, Brigadier General Milford Beagle, Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Major General (Ret.) William F. Grimsley and many other Purple Heart and combat Veterans across the state.
He is also a member of the American Infidels Veterans Motorcycle Club, dedicated to promoting the American way of life and supporting the local Veteran community through small community actions and large scale fundraisers benefiting Veteran non-profits of the Midlands.
Posted on August 31, 2020
Lamont “Chris” Christian proudly served in the U.S. Army for 32 years. He is a retired Post Command Sergeant Major (Fort Jackson).
Christian, who is from Elgin, South Carolina, is the recipient of many notable awards such as Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals, 5 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals, 4 Army Achievement Medals, 10 Good Conduct Medals, 2 National Defense Service Medals, and more.
Christian currently is leading the launch of the Warrior PATHH program in South Carolina at the Big Red Barn Retreat where he will serve as the Director. The Warrior PATHH (Progressive Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program is the first ever privately funded program that facilitates and cultivates Posttraumatic Growth. It is his mission to change the narrative for Veterans, active duty service members and first responders in the state from one of PTSD and suicide to one of Posttraumatic Growth.
Known as Chris to those close to him, he has been the voice of the Gatorade Hard Work Commercial. He’s had the pleasure of escorting Michelle Obama throughout his training area and sharing his training philosophy as 2-39 Infantry Battalion Command Sergeant Major.
He is an avid supporter of community partnerships with the military by supporting various events like high school drills, ceremonies, parades, volunteer assistance events, and general military support when needed. He is most known for his untiring passion and mentorship of fellow leaders and subordinates in the pursuit of military excellence.
Posted on August 26, 2020
Brooks Herring served in the U.S. Navy as a Gunner’s Mate for six years, and as a U.S. Army Civilian for two years.
His tours and deployments include Hurricane Katrina Relief (2005), Iraq (OIF 2006-2007), Africa (OEF 2009-2010), Afghanistan (OEF, 2011-2013).
His awards include Joint Service Achievement and Navy Achievement (2).
Herring is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He is also a local musician playing all over South Carolina and the east coast. All the tips he receives he donates to the Friends of Fisher House. He is also set to marry Kristin Podrasky in October whom he met on deployment seven years ago. Podrasky, "Kik" is still serving in the Army and returned home safely from deployment in August.
After completing his Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Herring plans to return to the Army Reserves as a PT and running his self-made non-profit "Run Phase" that is created to treat veterans recovering from combat trauma.
Posted on August 17, 2020
Stanley Foreman served for 25 years in the United States Army as a Senior Logistics. He also served overseas tours in the Republic of Korea, Panama, and Germany. His final assignment in the Army was as the Installation Sergeant Major at Fort Bliss TX.
Foreman joined the Office of Executive Policy and Programs in 2012 and served as the Director for the Small Minority Business until 2016. He is presently the Director of Administration in the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In this assignment he is involved in advocating for the state's 420,000+ veterans in all matters that pertain to veterans.
He is married and has three daughters and his wife is also retired military.
Posted on August 10, 2020
Judy McWaters served in the U.S. Air Force and has served as the Chester County Veterans Affairs Officer for the past 41 years.
She helped found and form the South Carolina Association of County Veterans Affairs Officers in 1990 and also served as President of the Association.
Ms. McWaters is retiring from the Chester County Veterans Affairs Office in September of this year.
Posted on August 3, 2020
Michael “Mike” Dial is a Life Member of the Captain John P Monahan VFW Post 12136 in Indian Land, SC. His VFW membership eligibility is based on his distinguished US Naval service. At the age of 18, Mike voluntarily enlisted in the Navy as a designated Operational Specialist (OS). He completed Basic Recruit Training at Great Lakes and initial OS training at Dam Neck Virginia. Upon completion of this training phase he was assigned to shipboard duty assignments with various ships of the Pacific Fleet in San Diego, CA. He continued his duty assignment advancing in his professional and technical skills over the following sixteen years. He separated and retired from active Naval service as First-Class Petty Officer in the Fall of 1994 with several awards including Meritorious Unit Award, multiple Good Conducts awards, and Navy “E” and Sea Service Deployment Ribbons. After his service, he then returned to his South Carolina home in the Rock Hill area.
Dial utilized his Navy team building skills and experiences along with his entrepreneurial abilities to quickly establish himself in the local business community with the Food Service industry by opening several BBQ restaurants and a Catering/Food Truck operation. Over the next 25 years, he continued to grow his business operations and reputation. He has sold some restaurants in Tega Cay and Indian Land, but retains a 521 BBQ restaurant in Lancaster, SC. With his strong Christian convictions and moral character; he has worked with local Ministries to donate food items and meals specifically during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday periods to assist those less fortunate citizens of Lancaster County. He also donates his time in support of the local Veteran activities such as the Veterans Day Military Ball through his catering service and supports VFW Post 12136 with two of its annual Fund-raising events: The Veteran Golf Tournament and “Pig Pickin” BBQ in conjunction with Brews Tavern.
Mike Dial has devoted his time and skills to his family, county and the local citizens of Lancaster county making it a better place to live, work, and enjoy life’s finer moments. He is an inspiration to fellow Veterans and the local citizens with whom he comes into contact.
Posted on July 27, 2020
Millage D. Floyd Jr proudly served in the United States Navy during WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Mr. Floyd, who is from Gaffney, South Carolina, is the recipient of the WWII Victory Medal, Asian-Pacific Campaign Medal, Good Conduct 5th Award and many other awards while serving his country during three conflicts. He retired from the military in Norfolk, Virginia in 1967.
Mr. Floyd now resides in Cherokee County, South Carolina and recently celebrated his 95th birthday.
Posted on July 20, 2020
Samuel “Doc Matt” Matthews proudly served in the U.S. Navy. As a 24-year Veteran, he spent much of his military career as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman, working alongside the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Tactical Groups in Afghanistan and Iraq (OIF-OEF 2004, 2013). He served as a Patient Admin Chief, a Drug and Alcohol Program Manager, a Medical Officer Recruiter, and a Casualty Assistant Officer for the Navy. He was also deployed to Somalia for Operation Restore Hope from 1993 – 1994.
For his military service to our Nation, Matthews’ most notable awards includes the United Nations Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, six Navy Achievement Medals, and five Navy Commendation Medals.
He currently lives in Goose Creek, South Carolina and works as a Voluntary Service Specialist at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. This year, Matthews was named the recipient of the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC annual Experience Excellence Award for creating exemplary Veteran experiences.
Posted on July 13, 2020
Ernest “Rodney” Dixon served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964-2003. He served a tour in Vietnam as a tank crewman and was also in charge of the ordnance in the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. He retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant (E9) with numerous awards including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He lives in Moore, South Carolina and is a dedicated member of the VFW Post 9539.
Rodney demonstrates loyalty to the members of the VFW, community, family, friends, church, and those in need. He exemplifies the ability to recognize the needs of others and does not hesitate to fulfill those needs.
Just a few examples of his acts of kindness, Mr. Dixon purchased a vehicle for someone who could not afford a replacement car. He donates food to Veterans in need and the local homeless mission. He also repairs items inside and out at the VFW post 9539, and is always looking for the next person or organization to help.
Many of the projects he does at the VFW post are completed and no one ever knows who got the job done! He participates in fundraising events such as the annual Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. He is well known in the community, and businesses by his generosity, and service to others.
Mr. Dixon does not seek recognition and does most of his acts of kindness and generosity confidentially. He is excellent representation of the Veteran of Foreign Wars and the genuine love he has for his fellow comrades, family, friends, and the community.
Posted on July 7, 2020
James “Jim” Aughtry, Jr served as a 1st Lieutenant in the tank company, 65th Infantry Regiment from 1952 to 1953 during the Korean War. Mr. Aughtry, who is from Gaffney, South Carolina is the recipient of the Silver Star for Gallantry in action in the vicinity of Kundong-Myon, Korea. He is also the recipient of the CIB, Korean Service Medal W/2 Bronze Stars, UN Medal, and National Defense Medal. Mr. Aughtry lives with his wife Margie of 74 years in Gaffney (Cherokee County).