LVMAC News — LVMAC Awards Its Scholarships

NINE RECIPIENTS ARE RECOGNIZED

The 2012 award recipients of the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council’s Scholarship Program were honored at the Council’s business meeting on 15 August 2012. Phil Hublitz of the Scholarship Subcommittee, presented the awards, assisted by Dave Binder, Board Member.  The awardees had been vetted by a team consisting of Phil Hublitz and Bob Rothenberger as Co-Chairs, Lois Binder, JoAnn Van Billiard, and Tom Shaunessey

Most of the awardees are high school seniors and the most are enrolling in ROTC in college with plans to serve in the military – several plan twenty year careers in the service. The majority are enrolled in local colleges. Two who are a veteran’s child plan on military service. One homeless veteran is returning to college. Applications from returning veterans continue to be problematic probably due to the generous Post 9/11 GI Bill. Local colleges have a large veteran enrollment, the college financial aid staffs have been contacted and are well aware that scholarships are available from LVMAC. Veterans have a record of success in college. An application has never been received from a Reservist or Guardsman from a local military unit, except for their children. Those recognized, together with their families, were:

Alex Gomez III, who graduated from Dieruff High School in 2011 and will be a sophomore at  Penn State University Lehigh Valley this fall. As a member of the Dieruff AFJROTC program, Cadet Capt Gomez was director of logistics as well as commander of the drill team and color guard. At Penn State Alex’s major will be criminal justice and he is enrolled in the ROTC program at Lehigh University with plans for a 20 year career in the US Army as an Airborne Ranger and as an MP.  Alex father is Army National Guard Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Sergeant Alex Gomez Jr.  This award was given in memory of Army Specialist Matthew Koch.

Brian Smith, who is an eight-year veteran of the US Army and served from 1988 to 1996. Brian previously completed an associate degree in management/marketing at Allentown Business School. He is enrolled at Northampton Community College this fall to complete his educational goal of starting a small business. Specifically his goal is simple: to operate a chain of hotdog, hamburger and ice cream stands on year round basis. He is currently a resident at Victory House. This scholarship was given in memory of Army Staff Sgt. Mark C. Baum.

James Whitehead, who graduated from Dieruff High School where he was a member of the AFJROTC program. James was to attend Penn State University Park this fall enrolling in ROTC with a career goal of becoming an US Air Force pilot and serving until retirement. James’ academic record at Dieruff speaks for itself achieving a GPA of  3.9 and a class rank of 19 of 451. However, James’ plans have changed completely and he decided to enlist in the US Marine Corp and will not be accepting the award at this time.

Daniel Garcia, also a graduate of Dieruff High School and its AFJROTC program. Sandra Waddell accepted on his behalf as he could not attend the meeting. Dan will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University this fall to earn an Aeronautical Science degree which he will apply in the US Air Force. Dan arrived in the US from Columbia, his native country, only three year ago with very limited knowledge of the English language. Within two years he moved from advanced English as a Second Language classes to regular English classes. With a GPA of 3.5 and a class rank of 36 of 451, Dan’s great academic record speaks to his mastery of English and his drive to excel. This scholarship was given in memory of Marine Private First Class Joshua P. Klinger.

Michelle Oertner, a graduate of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts. Michelle is the daughter Robert and Karen Oertner both veterans – Robert of the US Marine Corp and Karen of the US Navy. This is the first time that both parents of a candidate have been veterans. Michelle has a GPA of 3.5 and will matriculate at Lafayette College this fall. Her double major will be music and electrical engineering, with a further goal of advanced degrees. She is interested in a career in neuroscience developing prosthetic devices linked directly to the human nervous system. This scholarship was given in memory of Marine Corporal Kyle Grimes.

Alicia Martinez, a graduate of Dieruff High School, will attend Penn State University – Lehigh Valley this fall. Her GPA is 3.6 and class rank is 27 of 451. Alicia plans to join the Air Force as an officer upon graduation. Born in Honduras and arriving in the US at the age of 13, the fact Alicia has mastered the English language and achieved great academic success is a tribute to her intelligence and determination. Among her accomplishments is the receipt of a four year, Presidential Scholarship totaling $48,000 Presidential Scholarship and which she unfortunately cannot use because it was contingent upon her attending Wilkes University. The LVMAC award was given in memory of Marine Cpl. Jason Nunez.

Angela Quattrini, a William Allen High School and a Navy JROTC graduate. Angela was Executive Officer of the NJROTC program, and is the daughter of OSC Augustino Quattrini, a US Navy veteran. Angela’s major at Lehigh Carbon Community College will be marketing and design. She plans to transfer to a four-year program once she has completed her associate degree. The scholarship was given in memory of Army Sergeant Jennifer M. Hartman.

Zachary Nothstein, Dieruff High School, who was accepted at Penn State and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, but will be attending Norwich University this fall. Zach has enrolled in their ROTC program and plans on entering the Air Force as an officer and pilot. His GPA is 3.14, class rank is 81 of 451 and he achieved an SAT score of 1480. As Cadet/LT. Col in the AFJROTC program, Zach commanded the 100 cadet unit at Dieruff, and is another example of the wonderful success of that program. The award was given in memory of Army Corporal Barton R. Humlhanz.

Thomas Landis, who will enter Valley Forge Military College this fall. His goal is to become a US Air Force pilot. After two years at Valley Forge he hopes transfer to the US Air Force Academy. He plans an Air Force career with the ultimate goal of becoming an Air Force General. This award was given in memory of Army Sergeant Ashly L. Moyer.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS:

Name

Category

Educational Institution

ROTC

Cadets

Award

Remarks

Prior Award

Daniel Garcia (Dieruff H.S.) JROTC Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ. Air Force $1,000 Freshman No
Alex Gomez(PSU) Veteran’s Child Penn State Univ. Army $1,000 Sophomore $500
Thomas Landis(Dieruff H.S.) JROTC Valley Forge Military Academy Army $1,000 Freshman No
Alicia Martinez(Dieruff H.S.) JROTC Penn State Univ. – Lehigh Valley Army $1,000 Freshman No
Zachary Nothstein(Dieruff H.S.) JROTC Norwich Univ. Army $1,000 Freshman No
Michelle Oertner(LV Charter H.S.) Veteran’s Child Lafayette Univ. $1,000 Freshman No
Brian Smith(NCC) Veteran Northampton Community College $1,000 Junior No
James Whitehead(Dieruff H.S.) Veteran’s Child Penn State Univ. Air Force $1,000 Freshman No
Angela Quatrinni(Wm. Allen H.S.) Veteran’s Child Lehigh Carbon Community College $1,000 Freshman No
Summary 1 vet,4 vet child,4 JROTC 8 local colleges,1 out-of-state college 6 in ROTC $9,000 2 college,7 H.S. grads

VISITATION PROGRAM NEEDS NEW CHAIRPERSON

With the departure of Len DeRoche, the Veterans Affairs Committee is seeking a new Chairperson (coordinator) for its Visitation Program, a program designed to visit veterans in personal care and nursing homes within the Lehigh Valley, who unlike in state and federal veterans homes are often forgotten. If interested, please contact LVMAC to find out more.

HOMELESSNESS UPDATE

The Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living will be talking about their services to veterans families at the October Council meeting.  It is the recipient of the relatively new VA grant program entitled “Supportive Services for Veterans Families”, aimed at preventive measures and resulting from the plight of returning war veterans.  The Council is also trying to get Wilkes-Barre VAMC involved with the Regional Homeless Advisory Board of NE Pennsylvania as a partner – a committee with whom they should want to be involved as it affects homeless veterans but has not participated on despite its importance to our area.

Meanwhile, Lehigh County Conference of Churches is asking for additional support.  We have been providing about $8,000 a year to them.  Now they are asking for $16,150.  The demand for homeless veterans assistance is going up, not down.

‘HEALTHCARE IN OUR COMMUNITY’ IS MOVING FORWARD

The 19 July Healthcare in our Community conference with all the top executives from all the area hospitals went well. You probably caught our President, Jerry Still, and Eric Johnson, the project leader, being quoted in the Morning Call. We have published the results to date under LVMAC Tidbits. Since then, we have heard there possibly national interest in our project. The Chief of Operations and Reserve Health Benefits Consultant, AF Surgeon General’s Office, briefed at the meeting and TRICARE North’s contractor attended. We’re still not certain Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center’s staff fully understand and appreciate what is driving this initiative, since their director failed to attend, but we are hopeful.

Nevertheless, all the executives there agreed to institutionalizing the Veterans Affairs Liaison Officer concept (including Wilkes-Barre VAMC); a protocol within the community’s hospitals to ascertain whether or not a person is a veteran; a joint effort to develop a resources manual to assist the hospitals in properly responding to veterans and in understanding and connecting to the VA and TRICARE systems; improving the training of clinicians and other staff; and reconvening in six months (acting as a steering committee).

OPERATION JOVE/EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM ON HIATUS

The Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee has suspended the JOVE program for the time being. Meanwhile, Max Harris doggedly continues to investigate what might be required to start up a local entrepreneurship program working with the local universities.

COMMUNITY EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH RESEARCH PROGRESSING

Robin Carmody has met with the National Guard about their programs.  She is continuing her research on this potential new program.  Next step is to inquire about what Operation Military Kids, a Department of Agriculture sponsored program, has to offer.

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15 August 2012

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