The day is about sacrifice not service

By Jim Hayes

With the publication date of this edition of “The Settler” being Nov. 11, or Veterans Day, it goes without saying that nearly every veteran will likely hear the platitude, “thank you for your service,” or some variation of it over the course of the next few days.

Although I am not certain, I believe this expression originated as a sort of national mea culpa for greeting our servicemen returning from Viet Nam in 1969 by cursing and spitting on them.

Thus, it has become fashionable to utter the phrase upon determining that someone in a conversation has served in the armed forces.

That being said, it is time to examine exactly what that service entails.

Service is an 18-year-old Marine spending his first Thanksgiving and Christmas away from his family at boot camp, learning to be a Marine.

Service is that same Marine spending the next Christmas and Thanksgiving standing guard duty over an armory in Okinawa, Japan.

It is a sailor battling to secure an aircraft while his ship is being battered by wind, wave and rain in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Or maybe it is the soldier hunkered down for two days in a field in Korea while he and his platoon are battered by a typhoon, leaving them to eat out of tin cans until the weather blows over and they can return to their base.

Air and coast guardsmen face similar hardships in the name of service every day of their military careers and here in the states, we rarely give it a thought.

Yes, military service is a choice, but it also is a calling.

Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein summarized military service perfectly in his book, “Starship Troopers,” when he wrote, “The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war’s desolation.”

It is not only war that is desolate.

The Quonset huts shared by a company of Marines in the middle of the Philippine jungles are miles from anything resembling civilization.

Our servicemen currently deployed in the Middle East are in a land with morals, ethics and religious beliefs that are foreign to most of us.

They deal with those differences every day and face consequences should they happen to commit a faux pas.

Even those lucky enough to have assignments stateside are committed to services with which most of us are unfamiliar.

Guard posts are still manned regardless of the hour of the day or even if the day is a holiday.

Planes, trucks and tanks need to be serviced; ships need to be kept on course through weather that doesn’t take a break for the calendar.

Having said all that, “The Settler” wishes to extend a heart-felt thank you to every member of the Volunteer State Community College community who has ever laced up a combat boot, stepped aboard a ship, or flown or maintained an aircraft as a member of the military forces of the United States.

“The Settler” does know what service is and that, in the case of military personnel, service is usually a synonym for sacrifice.

So, thank you not only for your service, but also for your sacrifices.

Austin Peay transfer finds self on VSCC basketball court

By Katelyn Marshall 

Volunteer State Community College’s student feature is on Austin Fisher.  

“I play basketball at Vol State, I transferred from Austin Peay and now I’m here,” Fisher said.  

Fisher said that his major at Vol State is TV and Broadcasting Communications and he said that he will graduate in the spring. 

After graduating from Vol State, “I’m going on to a four-year to continue my education and continue to play basketball.” 

Fisher explained how Vol State has impacted or changed his life.  

“The teachers are definitely a lot more hands-on here than the other school that I was at, and the teachers, kind of leave you out to dry and you just didn’t know really what was going on. I would say Vol State impacted my life in the classroom more because I feel like I’m learning a lot more here, he said. 

“I try to do a lot, but I would say the most positive thing from my behalf would be the knowledge about basketball and maybe helping kids,” Fisher explained. “And from a basketball aspect because that’s what I’m best at—playing basketball, so I feel like that kind of carries more weight than all the other stuff do.” 

The most negative Fisher said he has ever done, “is probably on the basketball court. I probably said some negative things or something like that. For the most part, I’m kind of a laid-back person. I would say my most negative thing would be probably saying something on the court that I shouldn’t have said.” 

‘Story Slam’ participants tell tales of their thankful times

By Luis Quintanilla

Volunteer State Community College students Elisha Brinkley and Christina Alva walked away with a prize on Nov. 7.

Both students were winners of the Story Slam held at Vol State with Brinkley winning first place and Alva winning second.

The event took place in the Rochelle Center in the Thigpen Library from 11:10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. At the event, students were able to sign up for a chance to tell a story in front of the audience and possibly win a cash prize. Nine people told their stories ranging from the more comedic side to the more deep and personal side.

The event began with students being able to get refreshments and snacks in front of the Rochelle Center and with a sign-up sheet for those who wished to tell their story. For the audience members who didn’t sign up, there was still involvement for them as there were cards laid out on the seats with fill in the blank questions that they could answer anonymously.

The emcee, Jon Goode, would then collect these cards and read them in between each story. These cards and their answers ranged from least favorite Thanksgiving food, to favorite Thanksgiving memory.

Goode kicked of the event by hyping the crowd. He asked the audience to demonstrate how to properly clap and cheer to rile them up for the various speakers who would present. He then went onto a personal story of how his car broke down once and how a trucker gave him a lift to his destination. He chronicled this story in a comedic way making the audience laugh, but ultimately delivered the theme of the story: a simple interaction connected two strangers, just as storytelling usually does.

Faulkner, cabinet address student concerns at forum

By Randall Barnes

Volunteer State Community College President Dr. Jerry Faulkner and his cabinet addressed questions from the Student Government Association and Vol State Students during Faulkner’s quarterly forum Thursday.

Questions such as, “Why was the switch to Outlook made during the middle of the semester?”—and—”Will privacy walls be added to the Maddix Building’s men’s bathroom?”—were answered during last week’s forum.

Before the forum began, President of the SGA, Preston Tatum, handed out slips that had written on them directions for submitting a question, annonymously. The slips read, “Ask Dr. Faulkner, the president of VSCC, and his cabinet questions anonymously from your phone! Step #1 go to www.slids.com. Step #2: type in the event code (8484). Step #3: submit questions about the campus!”

The Speaker, SGA Attorney General Debera Bennett, started the event by introducing the president and his cabinet members.

The president and his cabinet sat no more than six feet away from the Student Government Association and spoke into microphones placed on cobalt-blue table covers. Faulkner’s cabinet is comprised of Beth Carpenter, Vice President for Business and Finance; Emily Short, Vice President for Student Services; George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Colette Cantania, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, Planning and Assessment. Faulkner sat in the middle of them.

After the introduction, the first question was asked: “Can privacy walls be added to the men’s bathroom in the Maddox Building?” Short answered, saying that it was next on the priority list.

Afterward, the question, “Gravel parking lots were used in the past, before parking lots were able to be built. Will those that remain share the same fate? Carpenter confirmed this should be the case.

One asked if one could opt out of ebooks. Pimentel answered yes after putting forth a joke that evoked laughter from over half the dining room. Pimentel wished this to be emphasized, stating, “You can opt out of DEI (digital books) if it is not an integrated product. For example: you can’t opt out of MY MATH LAB Plus; it does not have an alternative.”

A student’s question: ‘Is there a cheat sheet offered for classes? As in, a cheat sheet offered as a guide for navigating the difficulties of choosing a class based on each one’s difficulty.’ Pimentel answered, saying that class difficulty is subjective. Faulkner used an anecdote to deepen the point made, as well as—one assumes—to show that he understands.

One student inquired about the possibility of a recreational room being added in the future. It was stated that it will be looked into, but priorities are important.

“Why was the switch made to Outlook from Gmail made in the middle of the semester?” The switch was intentional, one cabinet member said stating that if the switch had been made during the summer, then some, if not many, would have been unaware of what to do or if it even happened, or that switch would have been too strong of a switch, sending some students into ewhiplash.

“Why can’t laptops be used to take notes in every class?” asked one student.

Carpenter expressed happiness in a question being asked that said, essentially, ‘Can the Vol State logo be added areas of common social gatherings to make this place more inviting?’ Despite this, the answer was that it’s not cost-effective, due to the permanence of the placement, and the

impermanence of the logo itself. She stated that the cabinet is very interested in hearing more ideas to increase school spirit, though.

“Can we get an ATM, preferably no-surcharge, on campus?’ Carpenter said that it has been tried, but the banks asked for too much. There may be another attempt, but it will be difficult to get no-surcharge.

“Can the Grill get a menu for items without noted cost? Who prices the food, there?” The provider sets the price—not Vol State. Menus may come along, but it was suggested for one to go elsewhere if too expensive.

“Can a meal ticket system be set up for The Feed?” One cabinet member replied, “It would be difficult, because we don’t know what he or she is going to get, so we don’t know what the price them as.”

Speaker Debera Bennett expressed indignation at the state of the tables and microwaves, saying immediately that the question, “Who wipes the tables and cleans the microwaves?” was hers. “They’re all disgusting. And they pose a health issue.”

The provider is responsible for cleaning, said Carpenter. The cabinet was told they were being cleaned five times a day. “If that isn’t happening, we can have another conversation,” said Carpenter. “The microwaves’ conditions are unacceptable,” said Short. “We’ll figure out some fix.”

“What are other ways for clubs to affect the community?” “That’s a good question,” said Short. “Donation drives, fundraisers, whatever may help the community.” Donation drives are encouraged. Students were encouraged to talk to Tabitha Sherrell if there are any more questions pertaining to that subject.

“Can campus events be expanded to offer students that have class during those times?” Essentially, the answer is they will see what they can do. On the issue of students having time for clubs and SGA, Pimentel wrote later, “In regards to students having time for clubs and SGA: beginning Fall 2020—the time period of 11:20-12:45 (MTWT) will not have courses for which there is only one section available.”

There was an activity hour. One student asked, “What happened to it? Why don’t we have it anymore?” “This is a common question: it issues all the way back to 1989,” said Faulkner, as he peered at a paper perhaps relevant to that statement. Apparently, most students didn’t want one, because they wanted to take classes during that time. “Its better to notify than take that opportunity away.”

Referring to the inquiry made into the possibility of a soccer team being added, one cabinet member said that “it’s best to ask Coach Hudson about it. There used to be one, but student interest fell rapidly. He is working on it. But cost and interest are both important problems, now. But there can be further discussion about that.”

“Some new programs won’t be supported on these old computers. Will we soon get replacements?” Cantania said to contact tech support if its a problem. She asked those that have problems, to let them know.

That was the last question asked and answered aloud. The forum ended shortly after it was answered. The Student Government Association discussed the answers Friday, last week. If there are any more questions, one may contact a cabinet member via their respective email addresses found on Vol State’s website. The same may be done for the SGA.

Lawson juggles role as chief and mother

By Velma Crochet

Angela Lawson is the Chief of Police at Volunteer State Community College. She is also a wife,mother, friend and role model for women hoping to work in a public service job.

Lawson, graduate from high school in 1993 from Stratford High in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after she began college at VSCC while working fulltime. She finished her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Bethel University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lawson said, she comes from a family of public service workers starting with her parents. Her mother is a retired fire chief and her father is a retired fire fighter, she said.

It does not stop with her parents, two of her brothers are also fire fighters, her other brother is an IT guy for Gallatin, Tennessee, police department and her sister is working in non-profit.

Lawson said, she along with her family are called to do this type of work. She also said her calling to public service stuck.

On a person’s worse day is when police show up and it is important to Lawson, to be there, the human aspect of her job is special to her, she said.

Lawson was a civilian officer with Metro in Nashville, Tennesse. That is where she realized being a police officer was her calling. She then worked for Gallatin Police Department for 13 years.

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Services said she has been working with the Lawson since the Chief began. Sherrell also said, in her role at Vol State working with Lawson has been awesome and she is easy to get in touch with by email, phone or just stopping by her office.

“Working with me and being flexible while setting up events is great,” said Sherrell.

Lawson and I collaborated to set up the “brew with the blue” so the students and VSCC officers will be able to interact every month, said Sherrell.

“Chief Lawson makes me feel safe and I would trust her with my life in an emergency situation,” said Sherrell.

Lawson has been working at Vol State for six years and really enjoys it. This position allows plenty of time off to be with her family. Not many officers are able to enjoy the weekends, holidays and semester breaks at home.

“I like the way she leads her team because they genuinely care about our students and are equally concerned about their safety,” said Tiffany Zwart, Coordinator of Student Support Student Engagement and Support.

Lawson has been married for nine years to her wife April and they have three sons.

Lawson choose Gallatin, Tennessee, to raise her family because even with all the growth the town still has that small community feel and offers amazing schools for her sons to attend, she said.

She really enjoys spending time with her three sons and wife playing virtual reality games, soaking up as much time together as possible or watching sports such as tennis, said Lawson.

Lawson loves all Mexican food and hates things out of order.

Christmas is her favorite holiday. Now that her sons are a little older, her family can travel and just enjoy time together. Working at VSCC gives her extra opportunity to enjoy a longer holiday with her family and she is very grateful for that, said Lawson.

Lawson is currently reading a motivational book by Jean Sincero ,”You Are a Badass Everyday.”

Orange coffee mugs were handed out at “brew with the blue” because that is Lawson’s favorite color.

“Behind the badge, behind the uniform we are humans,” said Lawson.