Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Change of command

I had the honor recently of attending the ROTC Change of Command ceremony for the Wildcat Battalion here at Fort Valley State University.

I was both heartsick and gladdened by the changes hearkened by this ceremony. Lt. Col. Anthony Foster will long be remembered by most as being at the helm of the Wildcat Battalion, a soldier carrying out a mission. For me, he will be remembered most fondly as a friend whom I met quite accidentally during my first year of service on the FVSU Judicial Committee in 2006.

I have over the years had many occasions to call upon him for advice, assistance and sometimes just to say “thanks” for being there. He was never too busy to take my call, always had a few minutes to sit and chat in his office about the progress of a cadet or ways to steer back on track some minor offender that I had encountered within judicial hearings. Most of all, he was compassionate and friendly, truly one of the good guys that we as a society so desperately seek in this age of uncertainty.

Recently Lt. Col. Foster spoke to a group visiting Vet Science as part of their health camp activities. After listening to him for a few minutes, I was kicking myself for not inviting him over the years to speak with the various groups that darken our door in need of recruitment to our campus. He is dynamic, down to earth and a sterling - no make that a “golden” - representative of all that is good about our military and our educational system here in The United States of America and I am heartbroken to see him go.

However the antithesis of grief is joy, and I am gladdened to see that the responsibility of leading the Wildcat Battalion is being passed on to Lt. Col. Terry Love, who will go down in history as the 13th Commander of ROTC here at Fort Valley State University. Although I do not know Col. Love personally yet, there is something special about seeing an alumnus come back and take their place “in The Valley.” I look forward to getting to know him and working together for the good of the students under his command. He comes resplendent with accolades and accomplishments which support the hope and faith that his new “FVSU family” already has in his abilities, but most of all he is “one of us.” To Col. Love and his family I bid simply “welcome, we are glad you’re here.”

To Col. Foster, I would just like to say: “May the wind always be at your back, the sun on your face and the hand of God resting squarely on your shoulders, farewell, my friend."

--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary tech in the Department of Veterinary Science.

No comments: