Shenandoah University held a Veterans Community Engagement Forum on Thursday, June 2, to facilitate discussion about supporting military veterans and their families and to identify the resources available to address the issues that they face.
The event, held in Halpin-Harrison Hall, brought together veterans and the private, public and non-governmental organizations that support them. Approximately 120 people attended the two-hour forum, which was preceded by a luncheon, catered by Mission BBQ, and vendor fair.
Shenandoah University Associate Registrar Niccole Gatliff, M.S., the Registrar’s Office’s veterans and technology specialist, organized the Veterans Community Engagement Forum. SU held the event in collaboration with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Community Veterans Engagement Board, which takes strategic actions to optimize support, care and services for veterans in the region.
“It was really great to see everyone together today to celebrate this great milestone at Shenandoah,” Gatliff said during the event.
The forum included presentations from Northern Shenandoah Valley CVEB Chair Michael Diaz, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Red Cross and Bunker Labs, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and military spouses start and grow successful businesses.
The event also featured a panel of five individuals with varying levels of military affiliation who answered questions relating to veterans’ needs and the services available to help vets and their families. Panelists included Shenandoah student Jalen Mims ’23, whose father served over two decades in the U.S. Marine Corps.; Shenandoah alumna and retired Army Brig. Gen. Lisa Doumont ’95, ’22, D.Prof.; Sgt. 1st Class Robert Haucks of the Virginia National Guard; Cmdr. Rich Petro of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2123; and former Marine Travis Dodson.
Frederick White, Ph.D., an executive fellow at Shenandoah University and a customer experience/patient experience (CX/PX) analyst in the Veterans Experience Office of the VA, served as moderator of the panel.
SU Provost Cameron McCoy, Ph.D., a military veteran, unveiled information about Shenandoah’s planned renovation of the former National Guard Armory on campus, which will eventually house the university’s Hub for Innovation, Veterans and Entrepreneurs (HIVE). The HIVE will support economic growth and development in the community and region, and provide an anchor for veteran care, services and resources.
“The event today was exceptional because the networking that I did personally really has opened a lot of opportunities for me to support veterans. I will be back and I will come support those veterans through the HIVE initiative,” said Dr. Doumont (pictured right). “I’m very happy to be here in the community to support the university and its efforts, because it’s making great strides to support all of its veterans, not only in the school but throughout the community.”
To donate to the armory’s restoration, visit advancement.su.edu/armory-restoration.
Sponsors for the Veterans Community Engagement Forum included Verizon, Mission BBQ, Nerangis Management Corporation, Martin’s, Sheetz, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.