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2010 News Releases

Three fallen members of Longwood family remembered in Veterans Day ceremony

November 12, 2010

President Finnegan speaking at 2010 Veterans Day Ceremony Longwood President Patrick Finnegan spoke at the ceremony and led a moment of silence for Army Capt. Shane T. Adcock, Marine Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II and Army Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell.

Three members of the Longwood University family who have been killed in action in Afghanistan or Iraq were remembered in a Veterans Day ceremony sponsored by the Longwood Student Veterans (LSV).

Longwood President Patrick Finnegan led a moment of silence for Army Capt. Shane T. Adcock, Marine Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II and Army Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell. Adcock, a 2003 Longwood graduate, was killed Oct. 11, 2006 in Iraq. Lamar, who attended Longwood for three semesters in 2004-05, was killed May 12, 2010 in Afghanistan. McConnell, who was close to the women's soccer program in which two of his sisters have played, was killed Sept. 14, 2009 in Afghanistan.

"A year ago June, President Obama and leaders from France, Canada and England gathered to commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day," said Finnegan, a retired brigadier general and West Point alumnus who served in the Army for 39 years before coming to Longwood. "They spoke at Colleville-sur-Mer, France, high on the cliff that overlooks Omaha Beach. It is the site of the Normandy American Military Cemetery, where thousands of U.S. soldiers rest row on row in eloquent and muted testimony to sacrifice and courage, honor and integrity, duty and loyalty. On the interior wall of the simple chapel in that sacred place are etched the words 'Think not only upon their passing, remember also the glory of their spirit.' Today we honor Shane Adcock, Donald Lamar, Andrew McConnell and all other veterans as we remember the generosity of spirit of these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. As with their comrades-in-arms who have also laid down their lives in the defense of freedom, we will not forget their courage, their leadership, or the nobility of their service."

Adcock was an ROTC cadet, an officer in Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, and a member of the rugby team. The bridge that carries State Route 835 over Interstate 95 in Hanover County (Adcock was from Mechanicsville, in Hanover County) is now the "Capt. Shane Timothy Adcock (U.S.A.) Bridge," with the Commonwealth Transportation Board approving the naming in November 2008. Lamar, whose nickname was "Duck," also played on the rugby team. McConnell's Longwood connection came through his sisters Ashlee, who graduated in December 2009, and Alecia, now a junior and, like Ashlee, a member of the women's soccer team.

"Andrew was a brother to the whole Longwood women's soccer program," said assistant coach Steve Brdarski. "He was in the Army at the time, and on his free weekends he would come up here from Fort Bragg and come to practice and cheer the girls on. His family came to the Wounded Warrior Weekend here in September."

In Longwood's first Wounded Warrior Weekend, Sept. 17-18, several sports activities raised funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "honor and empower wounded warriors" of the U.S. armed forces. On Wounded Warrior Weekend, Donald Lamar's widow and Shane Adcock's parents attended the women's soccer game against Elon.

The Veterans Day ceremony was held - like the signing of the 1918 armistice that ended World War I, the anniversary of which became Veterans Day - on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In his remarks, Finnegan cited the close ties between Longwood and the military.

"Veterans from all branches of the armed serves are represented among faculty, staff and students and include participants from Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom," he told the audience in Lankford Ballroom. "More than 160 students on campus are receiving educational benefits as veterans or dependents, further reflecting the deep ties of the Longwood community to the military. Our university's relationship with the men and women of the armed forces continues to grow, in part because of its robust Army ROTC detachment as well as our new off-campus undergraduate program at Fort Lee, Virginia.

ROTC unit at the 2010 Veterans Day Ceremony
A four-member ROTC unit acted as color guard for the ceremony.

"Longwood Student Veterans has also served our student veterans and current service members well. The LSV meets on a regular basis and participates in community service projects such as our recent Wounded Warriors Weekend fundraiser and the Shane Adcock Memorial Walk, has sent care packages to deployed soldiers, and co-sponsored the recent visit of journalist and author Kristin Henderson. The LSV also functions as a clearinghouse for information, guiding veterans through the registration and benefits processes, promoting mental health services and employment opportunities, and coordinating peer-to-peer counseling.

"The success of the LSV's outreach efforts is due in part to wonderful working relationships with organizations such as the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, the  state program to assist veterans with stress-related or traumatic brain injuries; the Aurora Foundation, founded by Longwood alumnus and retired Army officer Tom DeWitt; the Virginia Department of Veterans Services; and local service providers such as Crossroads Community Services and the Longwood University Counseling Center. The LSV is one more example of how our students are making a difference on campus, in our community and beyond."

Among those who spoke, in addition to Finnegan, were Austin Ling, LSV president; Martha  Mead, special projects coordinator for the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program; and Dr. John Miller, assistant professor of English, public affairs specialist in the Coast Guard Reserve and faculty co-adviser for the LSV. The other co-adviser is Susan Stinson, lecturer in English, who did much of the planning for the program but was unable to attend.

Mead, who also spoke at Longwood's Veterans Day program in 2008, praised what Longwood is doing to help student veterans. "Longwood's model for addressing the needs of student veterans and their families is something that could be replicated by any college or university in Virginia or across the country," she said. The Virginia Wounded Warrior Program is a program of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

Others in attendance included Maj. Stephan Ruppel-Lee, assistant professor of military science, who oversees Longwood's ROTC program, and Lt. Col. Jason Garkey, professor of military science and commander of the University of Richmond-based Spider Battalion, the ROTC unit to which Longwood's program is attached. A four-member ROTC unit acted as color guard for the ceremony. The cadets were sophomore Donald Knight and freshmen Stephanie Blackmore, William Davis and Benjamin Smith.