GMC News

Georgia Military College announces 2014 Alumni Award Recipients

     Georgia Military College alumni and friends will meet this weekend to celebrate Alumni Weekend 2014.  One of the highlights of the weekend will be the honoring of a select group of individuals with Georgia Military College Alumni Awards.  The recipients of these prestigious awards are selected annually from submitted nominations. They will be honored during the Alumni Weekend Parade on Saturday, October 25 at 10:30 a.m. on Grant Parade.  The community is invited to attend.
     This year’s award recipients are Brigadier General Tommy Francis Grier, Jr. (Distinguished Alumnus Award), Colonel Bernard R. Lindstrom (Alumni Achievement Award), Captain Ibrahim Omar Tantawi, Captain Aurlbrio L. Fennell, and Captain Jeremy Haynes (Outstanding Young Alumnus Awards), William Edward “Ed” Robinson III (GMC Service Award), Barbara Shaheen (Community Service Award), Judy Archer and Dr. Maidana Nunn (Honorary Alumna Awards).
     These nine extraordinary people are representative of the fine character and countless acts of excellence displayed by the alumni and friends of Georgia Military College.   GMC is fortunate to have been a part of the lives of each of these fine people.  The contributions of the 2014 Alumni Award recipients have, without a doubt, made the world a better place.

Distinguished Alumnus Award
Centennial, Colorado

     The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni whose lives have embodied the ideals of Georgia Military College including discipline, moral character, and learning, whose accomplishments have made a conspicuous and positive impression on those who will follow their lead, and whose lives are   examples of extraordinary accomplishment.
     A native of Swainsboro, Georgia, Brigadier General Tommy F. Grier graduated from GMC in 1960.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia in 1962, and a Master of Science in Public Administration from Shippensburg University in 1983.  Grier received his commission on August 16, 1962, through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program.  His first assignment was as a propaganda officer for the 13th Psychological Warfare Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 
     After attending flight training school, Grier served as armed helicopter section leader from 1966-1967, with the 121st Aviation Company in the Republic of Vietnam.  Prior to attending the Infantry Officers Advanced Course in 1969, he served for two years as an instructor pilot and flight commander at the Army Primary Helicopter School. Grier returned to the Republic of Vietnam for a second combat tour in 1970.
     A decorated Vietnam veteran, his subsequent assignments included serving as an aviation staff officer in Washington, D.C. and a senior operations officer in Alaska. He returned to D.C. as chief of the Infantry/Armor Branch at the Military Personnel Center. A graduate of the Army War College in 1983, he served as an operations officer at Fort Ord, California, followed by a posting at Fort Monroe, Virginia where he served as director of systems management.
     His final tour on active duty was as senior advisor to the Colorado Army National Guard where he served from 1987-1992. Grier was promoted to his present rank in 1993 and relinquished command in 1996.
     His military awards and decorations include: the Silver Star; Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters; Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; Air Medal with V Devise and Numeral 40; Army Commendation Medal; Master Parachutist Badge; Senior Army Aviator Badge; Special Forces Tab; and Army Staff Identification Badge. 
     Grier is retired from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs after ten years as the director of the Division of Emergency Management.  He is married to the former Jan Schlumbohm of Lawton, Oklahoma, and they reside in Centennial, Colorado.  They have three sons:  Thomas III, Jud, and Andy; and one granddaughter, Lily Georgia. 

Alumni Achievement Award
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

     The Alumni Achievement Award is designated for an alumnus who has attained notable success in his chosen field or profession, and whose achievement might serve as an inspiration to anyone considering entering that chosen field or profession, or might serve as inspiration to anyone to excel in his chosen field or profession because of the example set by the recipient of this award.
     Born in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Colonel Bernard R. Lindstrom was commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1988 through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps upon completion of studies at Georgia Military College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Mercer University, a Master of Business Administration from Benedictine College, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
     Key command and leadership positions include: Executive Director, Directorate of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C.; Commander of the Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville, Tennessee; Joint Engineer Plans and Operations Chief for U.S. Forces Korea in Seoul, Korea; Executive officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff Engineer, U.S. Army Europe in Heidelberg, Germany; Executive officer for the 18th Engineer Brigade in Bagram, Afghanistan; Executive and Operations officer for the 94th Engineer Battalion in Baghdad, Iraq; and direct leadership of an engineer company and platoons in the 317th and 16th Engineer Battalions. 
     Lindstrom credits GMC for instilling exceptional values that prepared him for military life. Referencing the principles he learned as a student, he said, “Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage; most of all, the one value that I learned from my time at GMC was duty.”
     His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, the Korean Defense Service Medal, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.   
     Lindstrom is not only a decorated soldier but also a devoted husband and father. He and his wife, Cara Jane, a registered nurse (BSN) and homemaker, have three sons: John William Kip, Alexander Ray, and Ray William. This military family has endured thirteen moves, as well as Lindstrom’s four tours of combat.
     Always gracious in crediting GMC’s influence on his life, he states, “I’ve worked in eleven different countries, served multiple tours of combat, forged thousands of professional relationships, and formed many close friends during my career. My Army journey started right there, at Georgia Military College.”

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
New Orleans, Louisiana

     The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recognizes alumni who, having completed their studies at GMC within the past fifteen years, have demonstrated excellence in academics or in their chosen professions, or who have made great strides in their personal life, and who show promise of continuing excellence.
     A native of Fremont, California, Captain Ibrahim Tantawi graduated from GMC in 2004, with an Associate Degree in General Studies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida and a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University. 
     In 2006, after attending the Armor officer basic course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Tantawi was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While serving in the campaign, he conducted one-hundred patrols, established an efficient police force that reduced enemy activity and captured high-value targets in Baghdad that decisively disrupted enemy control. In addition, he conducted over twenty humanitarian aid missions which restored civil services and provided medical aid to Iraqi civilians.
     After serving a second tour of duty in Iraq, Tantawi was reassigned in 2012, to New Orleans (NO), Louisiana, to take command of the NO Recruiting Company. During his time as recruiting commander, the company rated top in the battalion for multiple mission categories.
     In 2014, Tantawi volunteered for a combat deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom, where he served as the Future Operations and Plans Officer for Afghan National Security Forces Logistics. He was selected to serve as the Executive Officer to MG Kevin Wendel, Commanding General of Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan.
     Tantawi’s military awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious service medal,  Army Commendation Medal (4th award), Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal (2nd Award), Afghan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award) NATO medal, and the Combat Action Badge.
     Tantawi pays tribute to the exceptional education and military training he received at GMC. “The school provided the structure and drive that made me want to be successful,” he stated. “GMC taught me the importance behind physical training and how it is the base for all other activities that require discipline.” 
     He is married to the former Captain Lori Williams (US Army Retired and USMA Class of 2004) from Leesville, Louisiana. His parents are Theresa and Medhat Tantawi; he has one sister, Leila.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Alexandria, Virginia

     The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recognizes alumni who, having completed their studies at GMC within the past fifteen years, have demonstrated excellence in academics or in their chosen professions, or who have made great strides in their personal life, and who show promise of continuing excellence.
     Captain Aurlbrio L. Fennell is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. He enlisted in the United States Army Reserves (USAR) in 1999; he was commissioned in the United States Army (USA) through completion of studies at GMC in 2004.
Fennell holds an Associate Degree in General Studies from GMC, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from East Carolina University, and a Master of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics and Government from American Public University.
     Fennell pays tribute to GMC for teaching him time management, leadership development, and the value of people and resources. “I learned the importance of comprehensive fitness and developed the ability to balance my physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. These tools and skills have been essential to my development in both life and the military,” adds Fennell.
     Key command and leadership positions include: 72nd Military Police Detachment, Fort Bliss, Texas; the 978th Military Police Combat Support Company, Fort Bliss, Texas; Iraq with the 978th MP Co in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; the 93rd Military Police Battalion as an Assistant Operations Officer.
     In 2014, he deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan to assume duties as an aide de camp to the Commanding General of CJIATF-435. Currently, Fennell serves as the aide de camp to the Provost Marshal General/Commanding General US Army Criminal Investigation Command and Army Corrections Command, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
     His awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Medal; Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal with two campaign stars; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Medal; Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal; the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal; the NATO Medal; the Army Basic Parachutist Badge; the Air Assault Badge; Meritorious Unit Citation; and the German Armed Force Proficiency Badge.
     In addition to the dedicated service to his country, Fennell represents abused children in the foster care system through volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). After his military service is over in 2015, he plans to seek dual degrees in divinity and law.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Henrico, Virginia

     The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recognizes alumni who, having completed their studies at GMC within the past fifteen years, have demonstrated excellence in academics or in their chosen professions, or who have made great strides in their personal life, and who show promise of continuing excellence.
     Captain Jeremy Haynes is a native of Albany, Georgia, and graduated in 2004 with an Associate in General Studies from GMC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Fort Valley State University and a Master of Arts in Management from Florida Institute of Technology.
     His first assignment was platoon leader in 626 Combat Support Battalion headquarters, 3rd Brigade (Rakkasan), 101st Airborne Division and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for fourteen months. He served in Iraq as a company executive officer and Battalion S4.
     Haynes attended Combined Logistics Captain Career Course at Fort Lee, Virginia. After graduating the Career Course he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division where he served as commander of the 623rd Quarter Master Company (Airborne) Riggers. Upon completion of Company command, he was selected for a highly competitive training in the Industry Program with the American Red Cross.
     Haynes then served as an instructor at the Army Logistics University. He volunteered for a combat deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom where he served as a logistics manager for the Security Assistance Office. While in theater, he was selected to serve as the aide de camp to MG Harold Greene, Deputy Commanding General of Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan.
     His military training includes the Unit Movement Officer Course, Basic Officer Leadership Course, Quarter Master Officer Basic Course, Contract Officer Representative, Logistics Captain Career Course, Company Commander Course, Jumpmaster Course, Interagency Logistics, Master Resiliency, Army Basic Instructor Training, Mortuary Affairs Officer, Security Assistant Management, Air Assault, and Airborne School.
     His military awards include: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal (2nd award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award) NATO Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Norwegian 30K Road Mark Badge, German Jump Wings, Parachute Rigger Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.
     He is married to the former Chelsea Ray and they have five children-Keira, Dreshawn, Niya, Jeremy Jr., and Jeremiah.

GMC Service Award
Milledgeville, Georgia

     The GMC Service Award is designated for an alumnus/alumna or friend of Georgia Military College who has rendered special service to the school or to any of its ancillary organizations including the GMC Alumni Association, the Bulldog Club, the Booster Club, or the GMC Foundation, Inc.
     A longtime friend and supporter of GMC, Ed Robinson is revered for many years of loyal devotion to the Alumni Board of Directors (ABD) and the Foundation Board of Trustees (FBT). He currently serves as vice president of the ABD and was the 2013-2014 annual fund chair for the FBT. In addition to his current involvement, he served on the ABD during the 1970s and held the position of president in 1973.
     Along with coordinating events, Robinson is immensely talented in making personal connections with alumni. His distinct touch shines through when organizing special occasions including class reunions during alumni weekend, intimate classmate lunches and large alumni receptions.
     Always willing to travel and spread the story of GMC, he enjoys cultivating relationships with alumni. As vice president for the ABD, Robinson is responsible for selecting activities and projects that appeal to alumni interests and which will increase participation. With his warm demeanor and many years of board experience, such functions come naturally to Robinson.
     As annual fund chair, Robinson is not hesitant when seeking financial support. A donor himself, he states “I personally give to the annual fund because I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many of GMC’s students. I’ve seen firsthand their determination and work ethic.”
     Bulldog spirit runs deep in the Robinson family. Not only is Robinson a graduate of both the prep school and junior college, but, his father, William E. Robinson, Jr. also graduated from GMC and served as chairman for the Board of Trustees. Robinson’s brothers, children, and father-in-law all claim GMC as their alma mater.     
     Retired from Georgia College (GC), Robinson served as personnel director for twenty-five years. During his time at GC, he developed the Environmental and Health program. An active citizen, he served on the Milledgeville City Council for more than eighteen years.
     He has been married to wife Marcia for forty-seven years and together they have three sons – William (January 21, 1969-December 17, 1995), Tom, and Frank. He is a proud grandfather to granddaughters Logan and Lauren Robinson. He is also a member of the First United Methodist Church of Milledgeville and the Kiwanis Club. 

Community Service Award
Warner Robins, Georgia

     The Community Service Award is given to Georgia Military College alumni who, through leadership, inspiration, teamwork, or hard work in the spirit of volunteerism or in their professional activities, have taken the lessons of GMC’s Character Education beyond the classroom and whose actions are characterized by a history of exemplary service resulting in unquestionable improvements within their community.
     Barbara Shaheen is a successful small business owner and a much-respected volunteer in her community. A woman of great achievements, one dream had eluded her for more than 50 years-a college degree. After several decades away from a classroom, she redefined the image of a non-traditional student by earning an Associate of Science in General Studies (Warner Robins) at 79 years of age.
     Shaheen, with her late husband Chuck, made Warner Robins (WR) their home in 1964 and subsequently owned and operated two thriving businesses in town.       Always dedicated to helping others, she now mentors business owners through the Small Business Association. In addition, she served several years as executive director of the WR Chamber of Commerce before taking over as chairwoman in 2001.
     Shaheen is the embodiment of a great humanitarian who never passes on an opportunity to aid others. She has served her community through different charitable organizations including the WR Junior Woman’s Club and the Houston Medical Center Pink Ladies Auxiliary. 
While still a student, her empathy toward the plight of others moved Shaheen to establish three scholarships to assist fellow classmates financially. While reviewing applicants to her recently established Barbara Shaheen Scholarship, she was given insight to the challenges  non-traditional students face each day in pursuit of an education. 
     Due to her remarkable professional and civic accomplishments, Shaheen has garnered many awards through the years. She was named Chamber Person of the Year in 1986, Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of Warner Robins in 1990, and Miss Senior Warner Robins in 1995. In 2007, she was selected as one of five Outstanding Women from 22 countries by the Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia.  
     Shaheen takes great pride in her family which includes her two children, son Chuck and his wife Virginia, and her daughter Donna Kiefer and husband Joe. She delights in her grandchildren Joseph and Kelly and a new great-grandchild Luke. She continues to do what she loves-dancing and cooking Middle Eastern food-while encouraging others to press on with life goals. She stresses, “Until someone tells you no, keep trying and persevering through life. If you want to do something, just simply do it.”

Honorary Alumna Award
Jonesboro, Georgia

     The Honorary Alumni Award is bestowed upon individuals who are not alumni of Georgia Military College, but who have rendered special or exceptional service to the school or to its Alumni Association, and who, by virtue of their service, are worthy of the designation of GMC Alumnus and all that the designation entails.
     Judy Archer has been a loyal and dedicated friend to GMC for more than a decade. Retired from the United States (U.S.) Department of Labor after thirty-five years of service, Archer began a second career in 2003, at the W.J. Usery, Jr. Center for the Workplace at Georgia State University. The center provided for the study of cooperative labor-management relations and served as a resource for employers and workers seeking assistance in resolving issues.
     As personal assistant to Usery, Archer was introduced to GMC through visits made by the former U.S. Secretary of Labor to his alma mater. While working on projects for the school with Usery, she formed a deep attachment to the students, faculty, and staff. She says, “I fell in love with the students’ smiles and the profound respect they display for others.”
     Archer has been instrumental in planning several special events on campus including GMC Day in 2007, which celebrated the school’s educational contributions to generations of students. She also coordinated receptions during the opening of Usery Hall in 2010-the only building dedicated solely to the middle and high school cadets. She is currently assisting Usery in writing the memoir of his life and work.
     A true patriot, Archer loves the pageantry of the military parades and the love of country the students exude on campus. She is always available to volunteer at a moment’s notice to support the students she admires. “Everything to do with the military stirs my heart,” she said. “I am so proud of these young people at GMC. They are the future of our country. No matter where they go in life, they will pass along what they have learned here-duty, honor, and country.”
     Archer and her husband, Gene, have one son, Ricky, and one daughter, Cindy Gulsby. They are proud grandparents to seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In her leisure, she dedicates her time to church and friends in her hometown of Jonesboro, Georgia. She loves to read, sing, and make people smile and laugh. “I enjoy making people feel loved-everyone should feel appreciated.”    

Honorary Alumna Award
Milledgeville, Georgia

     The Honorary Alumni Award is bestowed upon individuals who are not alumni of Georgia Military College, but who have rendered special or exceptional service to the school or to its Alumni Association, and who, by virtue of their service, are worthy of the designation of GMC Alumnus and all that the designation entails.
     Born in Barnesville, Georgia, Dr. Maidana Nunn was first drawn to military life at a very early age. As a child, she loved the excitement and pageantry of the parades performed by the cadets from Gordon Military College. In later life, this enthusiasm would not only lead her through an impressive military career, but also create a generous and devoted supporter of GMC.
     Nunn has a Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State College for Women (GSCW) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia. She received a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland and a Doctorate in Nursing from Boston University.
     Employed for many years as a psychiatric nurse at Central State Hospital, she taught nursing students in the field of psychiatry. In 1971, she fulfilled a lifelong dream and joined the Air Force Reserves. Stationed at Warner Robins Air Force Base, she attended flight nursing school in San Antonio, Texas.
     During her career, she flew missions to Panama, Honduras, and Germany. Just when she thought her career in the military was coming to a close, she was called up for active duty during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and was stationed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. She retired a colonel in 1992, after serving her country for twenty-one years.
     Her steadfast support of GMC began when she was a student at GSCW and attended military parades that brought back the excitement of her childhood. Since that time, she has demonstrated unwavering devotion by serving on the Steinway Committee and funding the Military Endowment Scholarship (MES). Nunn never misses an opportunity to donate to the MES in honor or memoriam of someone whose life deserves recognition.
     Her generosity extends into the community by currently serving as board chairman for Meals on Wheels of Baldwin County. She also volunteers at the Georgia War Veterans Home and Blandy Hills Elementary School. Nunn has been married to her husband Pierce for sixty-one years-she includes the school as part of their family. “GMC is my heart,” Nunn explained. “They treat me like an alumni and I love every minute of it.”