Guest Blogger: Kenneth Ferrera, Tillman Military Scholar Class 2, University of Maryland
Last Friday, I joined about a hundred Habitat for Humanity volunteers and staff at the keynote address of Habitat for Humanity International’s Legislative and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., also dubbed Habitat on the Hill. The keynote speaker was Colonel David Sutherland who serves as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was speaking at Habitat on the Hill to address the attendees on warrior and family support as Habitat launches their nationwide veterans initiative.
I attended the event with fellow Tillman Military Scholars Meghan Lucas and Brett Gibson. We were honored as Colonel Sutherland recognized us as Tillman Military Scholars during his speech. The Colonel spoke about his job as champion of veteran support for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. It’s a big job and one that he finds rewarding and critical, particularly with so many veterans coming back from deployment in the current world climate.
After the speech, the Tillman Military Scholars had coffee with Colonel Sutherland. During our discussion, I learned we spent time at the same base in Iraq and knew some of the same people. He invited me to attend another speaking event with him the next day, which I accepted, at the American Academy of Physician Assistants, in Alexandria, VA. I begin Physician Assistant School at the University of Washington this summer, so it was quite a coincidence to attend this event with Colonel Sutherland.
This is a great example of how we as Tillman Military Scholars can use our influence to support these kinds of events and to promote the Pat Tillman Foundation, even after graduation. As more of us find ourselves away from school and in the real world, we can take the opportunities we get and put Pat’s name and the mission of the Foundation out there to make good things happen for others, just like the Foundation has done for us.