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Veterans Day 2020


As we recognize Veterans Day 2020 (Nov. 11), we want to celebrate some of the brave veterans who work in the Dublin Unified School District and thank them for their service to our country. The individuals highlighted below are not a complete list of DUSD veterans but include those who agreed to participate in this project. We would like to thank all the veterans working for DUSD for their service. Of course, we also want to thank all veterans across this country for their bravery and service to our country!

Vets Day


Growing up in the Detroit area, Leann says there were not many opportunities available for young adults. Joining the military created a way for her, her sister, and some of her friends to change their circumstances and to serve their country. 

Leann joined the U.S. Army and served near Frankfurt, Germany as a Transportation Liaison. While in the Army, she learned commitment, teamwork, and above all else, service to others. 

As the main contact for the local Military Recruiters, she helps students interested in military service, and their families, understand the process and determine if this is a good fit. She also helps students with the Military Academies application and ROTC process. 

Regarding serving her country, Leann says:
"For those that have served, I thank you! For those that are considering, if this is the path you wish to pursue, you need to be up for the challenge, expect to work extremely hard 24/7, and be prepared mentally and physically - start working on your pushups now - LOL! For me, it was one of the best decisions of my life, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity I had to serve my country."

Thank you for your service, Leann!

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Kenny joined the U.S. Army because his family has a long list of military veterans, and he always had a strong desire to serve his country and do his part in protecting this great nation. 

Mr. Wheeler served with Bravo Company 1/184 Infantry Battalion at Camp Parks in Dublin as a S.A.W. gunner and Team Leader for his platoon.

The skills he acquired while in the Army helped him adapt to his current work in many different ways. Knowing how to adjust and overcome obstacles to accomplish his mission has been very helpful and benefits the school district regularly. Mr. Wheeler believes that military service brings out the best in a person by pushing them to their limits and showing them that no matter what lies in your way, nothing is impossible to overcome with dedication, teamwork, and willpower.

Regarding serving his country, Kenny says:
"For those who have served, I would like to thank you for all you have done and sacrificed. For those considering entering the armed forces, it is an opportunity that provides many doors for you to better yourself and your families. There is no better career or job that will give you everything you need to succeed in life. As long as you give it everything you have while you serve."

Thank you for your service, Kenny!

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Thomas served in the U.S. Marines because he wanted to challenge himself in something non-academic. He signed up for Administration and was reassigned as a machine gunner and later a mortarman with a Weapons Company/Infantry unit. 

Before serving, he had only really interacted with a small, homogenous group of individuals. Thomas grew up in a somewhat small, midwestern college town and ended up having classes with the same group of peers throughout his school years. Going into the military, especially as an enlisted person, allowed him to work with a much more diverse group of peers. Learning how to collaborate with people from various backgrounds was a valuable skill he acquired during his service.

Regarding serving his country, Thomas says:
"Even though service to your country only lasts a short amount of time, the honor of having served lasts a lifetime."

Thank you for your service, Thomas!

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Kathryn joined the ROTC as a way to pay for her university education. Her grandfathers were both in the military and growing up her parents helped her develop a desire to be of service to others with her talents. She thought the military would be a great way to get her education and to serve her country at the same time. She chose the Air Force because she knew she wanted to do something in what is now called the STEM field, and was told the Air Force provided the best opportunities. 

During her time in the Air Force, Kate was stationed in New Mexico, the Azores, Portugal, and England and was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also did a couple of years in the Reserves near Sacramento while she earned her teaching credential.

As a Civil Engineering Officer, in the Air Force, she was responsible for the construction and maintenance of the base facilities and airfields.

The most tangible skills she learned were organization and management. As an Officer in charge of budgets and personnel, long-range plans as well as emergent issues, she had to be very organized and prepared to jump from one issue to the next, which has helped her with all the multitasking required in teaching. In the military, there is very much a "Figure out how to get this done" mentality which she also brings to preparing her lessons.  Softer skills she gained while working with people from all over the world, where the ability to understand different perspectives and to present concepts or plans in different ways, depending on your audience.

Regarding serving her country, Kathryn says:
“To those that have served, and their families, thank you.  To those considering it, I definitely recommend pursuing serving in the military. I didn't grow up thinking that I would join the military, but I wouldn't change my decision for anything. It was an incredibly valuable experience for me, and helped me become who I am today. But have a plan and a goal for your service. If you want to make a career in the military, talk to people with different jobs in the military to see what is the best fit for you. If you want to serve to pay for your education, think about what your plan is after your commitment and select the Branch of Service and job that will best set you up for success to achieve your goals.”

Thank you for your service, Kathryn!

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Darrell Chapman served in the U.S. Army from 1999-2007. He comes from a family of servicemen/women including his father and his younger sister. 

During his time in the Army, serving as a Signal Core, Multi-Channel Transmission Operator, Camp Parks RFTA (in Dublin) was his main duty station, but he also spent time in Korea, Texas, and New Mexico and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After leaving the service he was also a Government Contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Regarding serving his country, Darrell says:
“First off, thank you for your service, past, future and present. My advice for those who consider joining the service, do your homework. Research online all branches of service. I figure if you are going to volunteer, you might as well do a job you want to do. Find a mentor if you can. Stop by a recruiting office and ask questions. Lastly, train! Start getting that PT in!”

Thank you for your service, Darrell!

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Frederiksen Elementary’s Candido Gomez joined the Navy because he loved airplanes and wanted to work on them.  He figured he could get training in the Navy. 

While in the Navy, he served at NAS (Naval Air Station) Moffett Field, NAS Adak Alaska, NAS Cubi Point Philippines, NAS Barbers Point Hawaii, NAS Misawa Japan, and NAS Atsugi Japan.

Candido was a member of the aircrew on P3-C Orions, serving as an in-flight technician (IFT). He worked with the Office of Naval Research (Science and Technology) with a focus on hunting Soviet submarines-when there was a Soviet Union. 

He says that in the service he learned many skills.  The one he still uses today is “get the job done (and don't complain).”

Regarding his years in the Navy, Candido says “Honestly-I had so much fun. So I would definitely do it again.”

Thank you for your service, Candido!

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DHS Assistant Principal, Diane Santamorena, says that after graduating high school, she wasn't prepared for college and wanted to be independent. Her dad was in the Navy so she was familiar with the lifestyle and service to community and country was a value in her home. The Navy gave her the opportunity to explore a unique career and travel the world, which was very enticing to an 18-year-old who was not ready for college. 

During her time in the Navy, she was stationed in Spain, Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida as a Jet Engine Mechanic for C-130 and P-3 aircraft, F-18 fighter jets, and H-2 helicopters. 

Diane says the Navy focuses a lot on soft skills and leadership characteristics from the start. The ones that were most heavily ingrained in her experience and used today are a high sense of integrity, accountability, quality control, and compliance. She uses all of these skills and many more as a high school assistant principal as well as in her past careers. 

Regarding serving her country, Diane says:

“Thank you to those who have also served in the military, it's a unique commitment rarely fully understood until you've lived it. For those of you considering a career in the military, I applaud your dedication to serving your community and country. You will in some way improve the life of others and gain invaluable experience that will last a lifetime. Go Navy!”

Thank you for your service, Diane!

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After graduating from high school, Mark joined the Army with his best friend because he wasn’t ready to go to college. During his time in the Army, he served in Military Intelligence, at the Presidio in San Francisco and in Frankfurt, Germany. He believes he acquired skills in the Armed Forces that help in his current role, including learning how to adapt to situations that change quickly, leadership skills, working with a diverse group of people to accomplish one goal, and being able to move to a new place and adapt immediately. 

Thank you for your service, Mark!


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DUSD Groundskeeper, Ben Shaull had been attending Mission College but said he had no focus. He had completed most of his general education but did not know what he wanted to do from there. Ben comes from a long line of military men, including his father, who retired AFCM Master Chief with a recommendation for Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. His father suggested joining the military might help focus his young mind.

Ben joined the Army and went to Basic Training at Fort Dix New Jersey. He then attended his Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for Non-Communications Interceptor at Fort Devens, MA.  After finishing school he was stationed at Fort Hood Texas and then Camp Hovey, Korea.

He started off his military career as a non-communications interceptor and also qualified as a chemical detection specialist, Unit Armorer, Logistics NCOIC For field operations in Korea, Truck Driver (88M), and Lanes Trainer for Combat Operations while stationed at Camp Parks, CA

The one thing the military does well is give the opportunity to do many different things. Ben learned a lot of skills including how to take care of the Sergeant Majors grass, which he says just happens to be the very job he is doing now at DUSD. The military also helped him obtain a job in his previous field of work. Ben served as a Peace Officer for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office for 26 years.

Regarding serving his country, Ben says:
For those who served, I would say that I am proud to call you my brothers. There is an understanding among those of us who served that is difficult to explain; it creates a connection and a love of America I wish all could experience. For those considering serving first get it done young, get all the training you can, get it in your contract before you sign. Serving will be the hardest thing you will ever do and it will teach you to push your limits until one day you realize, you are limitless.  If you serve, may God go with you.” 

Thank you for your service, Ben!

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Richard Beard served in the U.S. Army after being drafted out of college. He was stationed at Fort Ord in Monterey for boot camp and radio operator training. He then spent time at Fort Sam Houston, for Medical and Dental training and his last duty station was the Army War College in Pennsylvania.

The medical and dental training he has used throughout his career in the civilian world. In 1979 an international medical emergency occurred on the Thai-Cambodian border for the Cambodian refugees trying to escape the "Cambodian Killing Fields" situation.  The medical group practice he was employed with at the time formed the only International Mobile Medical team to respond to this emergency. Their primary mission was to treat wounded when border battles broke out, give general medical services as needed to refugees, and to provide additional medical assistance to other International medical teams operating along the border. 

His training and experience resulted in employment in hospitals ERs, and labs, and private medical practices. His training and experience also allowed him to teach anatomy, medical assisting, dental assisting, and several other subjects for various colleges. He later did advance computer network training to teach computer skills from desktop to designing enterprise-level networks.

The military taught Richard what honor and duty to one's country or the team you are assigned to means. Growing up, he was taught an old concept of "Ride for the Brand". Serving one's country is "Riding for the Brand". He says America is not perfect, but he has been to several other countries that are less than ideal for quality of life, and lack of freedom.

Regarding serving his country, Richard says:
“I did not like the Army at the time but would do it again. I have used my military experience and education the last 50 years, in all sorts of ways, to help himself and others. I would not change that experience for $1,000,000 dollars.”

Thank you for your service, Richard!