Skip to main content
The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

IMPORTANT UPDATE - VA accelerates healthcare enrollment under the PACT Act. CLICK HERE to learn more about the enrollment process.

Our Mission: help Veterans and their families THRIVE! CLICK the link below to answer a short survey to help us connect YOU to the right resources!

Veteran and Family Needs Assessment Survey

Generic survey graphic

Veteran of the Quarter

Veteran of the Quarter October - December 2023: Laura Robbins

Laura

Laura Robbins is United States Air Force Veteran (1989-1998), serving in the Gulf War and Dessert Shield. After she separated from service with an Honorable Dischargesdf and numerous medals and awards for her service, Laura took her experience as an Information Manager and transitioned to an Administrative Assistant in a corporate setting. Over a few short years, Robbins rose to the level of Executive Assistant, supporting the Chief Executive Officer and Board Chief of a multi-million-dollar company.

sdfsdRobbins is a Dually Certified Peer Support Specialist working with individuals struggling with substance misuse and mental health illness at a nonprofit organization. She is an Alcohol and Drug Counselor-In Process and is a recent graduate from Liberty University with her Masters in Addictions Counseling. Laura received her Certification in Addiction Treatment in Military and Veteran Culture through the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and is a Certified South Carolina Palmetto Pathfinder.

In January 2004, Laura began her personal journey away from substance misuse to a life of recovery and sobriety. This change eventually led her to a path of helping others struggling with addiction in her community as an Addictions Counselor and Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS).

sdfsdfsgIn 2019, Robbins got her start at Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) Piedmont which covers six counties in upper South Carolina. She began her CPSS work with the adult drug court diversion programs, and more recently with the Veterans Court Alternative Program (VCAP) in the 6th and 16th circuits. In 2021, Robbins started the first virtual Veterans Recovery Support Groups for Veterans struggling with addiction, life/military transitions, and mental health support in her area. She now conducts individual Telehealth sessions with Veterans enrolled in VCAP, self-referrals, and other community referrals. The contributions Robbins makes help to remove the stigma about addiction and mental health, while bringing light to the importance of our Veteran population.

Robbins' family includes her daughter and three dogs.


Veteran of the Quarter July - September 2023: Alton Jenkins

sdfsf

Alton Jenkins has been selected by SCDVA's Internal Selection Committee as the newest Veteran of the Quarter (July - September 2023).

sdfsdfsdAlton Jenkins served in the US Army as a Generator Lead Technician. He deployed twice to Afghanistan, the first time he was deployed he served with DSTB 82nd Airborne. During one of his deployments his Platoon rebuilt and recovered manydxfbcghjk MRAPS, Generators, Buffaloes, MATV that were hit by IED’s or direct/indirect fire. Their shop was the first shop to test drive and license on MATV’s in Afghanistan.  In stride, Jenkins is always grateful, stating the following about his comrades: “We're like family! We worked hard but played even harder. I can’t thank my chief enough for accepting me into his platoon.” 

Jenkins currently serves as the Director of Veterans Affairs for Jasper County. He assists Veterans and their families in accessing military and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. He answers questions and advises Veterans on federal and state benefit programs as well as helping their dependents file claims, representing them in VA hearings, directing them to appropriate resources, and providing educational materials. Jenkins is known to take a personal journey with each Veteran, each family member, and each person he works with being proactive instead of reactive in every sdfsaspect of his job.

He is also in tune with the community he grew up in, moving back to Jasper County to give back.  He started his own nonprofit to mentor students called MotivateYourGrowth Inc to provide quality performance training to inner city student-athletes, along with gathering resources and educational support to further develop collegiate opportunities. Jenkins works with the County Police Agency to assist with the local PIT Count for homelessness, serves as a Palmetto Pathfinder with SCDVA, assists with Jasper County Youth Football, RLVET, and collaborates with other CVAOs to head up a Veterans Day Parade and a Rural Lowcountry Veterans Engagement Team to solve issues such as homelessness, transportation, and employment in the rural counties.


Veteran of the Quarter April - June 2023: U.S. Army 1st Sergeant Alvin King

 

King VOTQ 1 King VOTQ 2

Alvin King VOTQ

United States Army First Sergeant Alvin King has been selected by SCDVA's Internal Selection Committee as the newest Veteran of the Quarter (April - June 2023).

1SG King served in the United States Army from December 1998 to December 2018. He served several deployments including: Operation Joint Forge (Bosnia) 2000, 2001; Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) 2002, 2003, 2004; Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) 2005, 2010; and Operation New Dawn (Iraq) 2011. King served several assignments before retiring as a First Sergeant Senior Intelligence Advisor. Those assignments included: 2/3 Special Forces Group (Airborne) Fort Bragg, NC; 4/4 Aviation Reconnaissance Battalion [4th Infantry Division] Fort Hood, TX; 157th Infantry Brigade Fort Jackson, SC; 3/7 Infantry [3rd Infantry Division] Fort Stewart, GA; and US Army Central, Shaw Air Force Base, SC.

alvinUpon completing his sophomore year in college, 1SG King realized that school was not for him. At the time, he was searching for more direction in his life; inevitably, he stumbled upon an opportunity to join the US Army. While at first, 1SG King was hesitant, the moment he signed his name on the dotted line, he knew that he had found what he had been searching for. King says that the culture of camaraderie and the brotherhood in the military was like nothing he had ever experienced. Since leaving the military, 1SG King has authored the book, Purpose Fulfilled: A Guide to a Life Well Lived; started a consulting company specializing in leadership development and mentorship; and traveled around the state to different organizations and schools, delivering talks as a keynote speaker. Additionally, in 2018, 1SG King launched King Fore A Day, a charity golf tournament designed to give back to Veteran nonprofit organizations in the Midlands. Since its inception, King Fore A Day has filled all 36 teams for the past three consecutive years. Thanks to sponsors and tournament participants, up to $20,000 have been donated to nonprofits, including Hidden Wounds, Project Josiah, and PGA HOPE (Columbia). Most recently, donations from King Fore A Day facilitated funding for the Tammy Finney VA Volunteer Scholarship—awarded to Serena Parmar, a first-year student at the University of South Carolina selected for her commitment to serve Veterans at the Dorn VA through the VA Youth Program. 

The success of King Fore A Day inspired other Veterans and 1SG King to found Range Fore Hope Foundation, a military nonprofit organization. Its mission is to facilitate outdoor activities as a positive outlet for active-duty service members, Veterans (combat and disabled), and their dependents to help them overcome life's difficulties attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The organization believes that providing programs and resources to Veterans and their families directly impacts their healing process. Additionally, their inclusive approach encourages participation amongst adaptive sports participants—the nonprofit's framework provides an equitable environment for those we serve. After the nonprofit’s inception, King launched a six-month golf program that catered to military communities at Fort Jackson and Shaw Air Force Base. 

Range Fore Hope Foundation is nationally recognized as a certified adaptive golf instruction program and became a US Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA) member. With an emphasis on adaptive golf, King's organization hosted the inaugural golf charity tournament, Fairways to Freedom. All proceeds went towards purchasing a ParaGolfer, an all-terrain power wheelchair typically used for golfers with high-level spinal cord injuries. 1SG King's organization hosts weekly free golf lessons on Wednesdays from 5-6:30 p.m. at James Clyburn Golf Center and Thursdays from 5-6:30 p.m. at Cobblestone Park.

rangeRange Fore Hope joined the South Carolina Veteran Coalition this past Spring. You can read more on the partnership and WATCH more on how Range Fore Hope is inspiring Veterans by clicking HERE.

Hear what Alvin King had to say about being selected as Veteran of the Quarter and how the program continues to honor Veterans by clicking HERE.

 

 


Veteran of the Quarter January - March 2023: U.S. Army Command Sergeant (Ret.) Lamont Christian  

CSM Lamont Christian VOTQ

Lamont Christian, a retired Army Command Sergeant Major and Director of the Warrior PATHH Program at The Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood has been selected by SCDVA's Internal Selection Commitee as the newest Veteran of the Quarter (January - March 2023).

CSM Lamont Christian 2“I am extremely pleased to have been recognized as SCDVA Veteran of the Quarter," says Christian. "The honors go to all my fellow team members at The Big Red Barn Retreat, as it is largely due to their collective attitudes and efforts that I have got this far.”

David Williams"No one deserves this acknowledgement of being selected as Veteran of the Quarter more so than Lamont Christian," says David Williams, the former Executive Director of The Big Red Barn Retreat. "He is out there every day helping Veterans who are struggling and making a difference in their lives for not only those Veterans in Midlands but throughout the entire state. It's an honor to serve with him at The Big Red Barn Retreat and see the difference he is making firsthand every day. I also really appreciate the South Carolina Department of Veterans' Affairs for recognizing our Veterans, like Lamont Christian, and how they continue to serve in a different capacity helping our fellow Veterans in South Carolina."

CSM Lamont Christian 3Lamont Christian, is a native of Brooklyn, New York and resides in Elgin, SC. He entered the Army Reserves as a Parachute Rigger in 1986 and later entered active duty, completing Infantry One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He served his country as a Noncommissioned Officer from 1986 to 2018, serving in several combat operations during Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

Christian held every leadership capacity from Team Leader, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, Command Sergeant Major, Commandant and Post Command Sergeant Major. His assignments included tours of duty with The Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, The United States Army Drill Sergeant Academy, Fort Jackson; 101st Airborne Div. (AASLT) Fort Campbell, Kentucky; 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, Fort Benning, Georgia; 82nd Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps, United States Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

CSM Lamont Christian 5He is recognized around the world as "America’s Drill Sergeant" having led the Army’s only Drill Sergeant Academy and having his voice premiered in the Gatorade HARD WORK military cadence commercial and also for being the Army’s Senior Enlisted Leader for the Commander of the world’s largest training post and center of excellence for initial military training at Fort Jackson. 

Since retiring in 2018, after 33 years of service, he continues to assist nonprofit organizations, Law Enforcement and First Responder organizations by providing leadership, training improvement and development. He serves the community at-large nationwide in various causes for the betterment of social, economic and progressing services for veterans and those who support veterans and their Families. He has sat on countless committees of change to include the Hawaii Supreme Court Subcommittee Member for equality in the Courts and the National Major Gang Task Force and has been recognized as the Midlands Chamber of Commerce 2022 Military Advocate of the Year. He is currently serving as a Richland County Reserve Deputy and the Director of the Warrior PATHH Program at The Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood.

We thank Lamont Christian for past and present service to our nation's military and the great state of South Carolina!  

CSM Lamont Christian 4


Veteran of the Quarter October-December 2022: U.S. Army Sergeant Brennan Beck 

bb

SCDVA is sending a special congratulations to U.S. Army Sergeant, Brennan Beck as our VERY FIRST Veteran of the Quarter for October-December 2022!

SGT Beck was selected by our Internal Selection Committee after he was nominated by his wife for Veteran of the Week! Brennan is a former SCDVA staffer and served as our Lowcountry Regional Integration Officer.

SGT Beck and his family recorded this special message after learning of his honor as the Veteran of the Quarter. You can WATCH by clicking the link below! SGT Beck is NOW officially in the running to become the South Carolina Veteran of the Year, to be named in November 2023

Beck VOTQ

SGT Beck joined the Army as an infantryman five days after graduating high school. During his four and a half years of active duty he completed two year-long deployments to Iraq with the 1st Infantry Division and 172nd Infantry Brigade and served alongside heroes like Medal of Honor recipient, Specialist Ross McGinnis. SGT Beck was honorably discharged from the Army in 2010 and went on to pursue his post-secondary education as a first-generation college student utilizing the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill. Despite dealing with physical and mental injuries from combat wounds received in Iraq, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in English.

After graduation, SGT Beck and his family moved to South Carolina where he began working for Clemson University’s English Department. In 2016, Brennan transitioned into Student Affairs to serve as Clemson’s inaugural Director for Military and Veteran Engagement, the first full-time staff position fully committed to serving and supporting Clemson’s student veterans and military-connected students. In this role, he directed the Clemson Military & Veteran Engagement Center, advised the Clemson Student Veterans Association and SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society Clemson Chapter, supported the Clemson University Veterans Commission, and advocated for all military and veteran students and their families at Clemson. In September 2021, SGT Beck joined the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs as the Lowcountry Regional Integration Officer where he works with local, state, and federal entities to address Veteran issues and bring real solutions to pressing issues impacting Veterans across the Lowcountry. SGT Beck and his wife Ashley live in Summerville, SC, with their two children, Brynley and Gavin.

SGT Beck is a Lifetime Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), serves as the Secretary for the Lowcountry Veteran Engagement Team (LVET), a member of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Outreach Committee, an active Palmetto Pathfinder supporting South Carolina Veterans, and part of the Travis Manion Foundation's Spartan Leadership Program, one of 30 Veterans and Gold Star family members selected through a national search to participate. SGT Beck also volunteers his time as a guest speaker to educate undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing business, leadership, higher education, counseling, or Veteran services at Clemson University.