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2017-7-17

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will meet on Thursday, August 21, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.  The public is welcome to attend.

Senior leader remembers lessons of humble beginnings Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche retires July 21

Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, deputy commander for the Army Materiel Command, will soon be packing the mementos in his office as he prepares for retirement. His retirement ceremony is set for July 21 at 9 a.m. on the AMC Parade Field at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. (Photo by Sgt. First Class Teddy Wade)

By KARI HAWKINS

Army Materiel Command Public Affairs

Under the collar of his three-star uniform, Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche wears a symbol of his early years of service that has kept him connected to the challenges and aspirations of the Army’s enlisted ranks.

That symbol – the rank of a sergeant – is important to an officer who has focused on being accessible, fair and supportive to the Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians who have worked beside him and for him.

“For me, the Golden Rule is to treat people like you want to be treated,” said Wyche, deputy commander of the Army Materiel Command and senior commander for Redstone Arsenal. “I’ve always tried to be very balanced in my life, and to be approachable. Balance is very important, in my opinion, because in this business things get thrown at your left and right, and top and bottom, and you have to continue to make sound decisions.”

Wyche’s personal/professional life balance will soon tip more to the personal side as he prepares for retirement, closing a career that has spanned more than four decades and included four years as an enlisted Soldier. His retirement ceremony is set for July 21 at 9 a.m. on the AMC Parade Field.

Wyche has been a part of the AMC enterprise for years; in some capacity, he reported to the past four of its commanders – Gen. Benjamin Griffin while commander of the Joint Munitions Command; Gen. Ann Dunwoody while AMC’s deputy chief of staff, 3/4; and Gen. Dennis Via and Gen. Gus Perna while AMC deputy commander. In his current role, he not only assists in the AMC worldwide mission, but leads the Army’s Conventional Ammunition and Explosives Safety programs, Depot Maintenance Corporate Board, and AMC’s Cyber Assurance and Enterprise Resource Planning programs.

“All four of the commanders I’ve worked for have been exceptional,” Wyche said. “But each approached things differently and had a different focus, and I’ve adapted to that. As AMC’s deputy commander, I’m responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a multi-billion dollar enterprise and to fill in the gaps and the seams for both previous commander Gen. Via and now Gen. Perna.”

In addition to his duties as AMC’s deputy commander, Wyche serves as the senior commander for Redstone Arsenal, a Federal Center of Excellence with more than 70 tenant organizations and a nearly 40,000-strong workforce.

“While it is very time consuming, at the same time, it’s very rewarding to work with a community that really cares about Redstone Arsenal.”

When not representing Redstone, Wyche is likely traveling to visit Corps and Division Commanders, as well as to AMC depots or industrial plants.

“We cannot forget the business we’re in – the warfighting business. That’s what we live for – to ensure our Soldiers have what they need to fight and win,” Wyche said. “Our AMC units that support formations are a major part of the fight. Understanding the needs and connecting the dots from operational units to the Organic Industrial Base is critical.”

Born in North Carolina and raised on a tobacco farm in Virginia, Wyche enlisted in the Army in 1975. He served as a cavalry scout, reaching the rank of sergeant.

“Every assignment I ever had taught me something about myself and the Army,” Wyche said. “I would not replace my time as a young cavalry scout for any assignment. I was in the fox hole; I dug fox holes. I carried a M60, and I humped hills with teammates. That was special to me.”

Wyche left active duty to attend Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, during which he commanded a detachment as a Reserve officer while also being active with the Army ROTC program. He was commissioned as a Quartermaster officer in 1982.

“My operational assignments in command at places like Fort Hood and Fort Bragg put me out there in the dirt learning how to lead Soldiers,” Wyche said. “Then my introduction to the industrial side of the Army was as the commander of the Joint Munitions Command, where they make everything from 9 mm rounds to 21,600 thousand-pound bombs, and have 16,000 employees around the nation at 18 ammunition plants and sites. That taught me the business of the Army and gave me an understanding of industrial operations.”

Other assignments – commander of the Combined Arms Support Command and the Sustainment Center at Fort Lee, Virginia.; commander of the Joint Logistics Command, Combined Task Force 76 in Afghanistan; and leadership roles in the offices of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at the Pentagon – provided experiences that gave Wyche a well-rounded understanding of Army strategic operations.

In the wake of budget tightening measures, Wyche said the challenge is to continue to ensure readiness while also finding ways to be more efficient and effective. During his time at AMC, Wyche has focused on ensuring the right funding, infrastructure, personnel and capabilities are in place to support Soldier equipment readiness.

As a career logistician, Wyche has lived the meaning behind the warfighter logistician’s mantra: “We are prepared to give the shirts off our backs and boots off our feet to support the fight. We will never say ‘no’ as long as there is one gallon of gas to give or one bullet to give.”

“It is about selfless service. We, logisticians and sustainers, must do whatever it takes to support the Warfighters and Soldiers,” he said.

Early in his Army career, a negative comment from a senior Soldier became the motivation for Wyche to excel. Yet, 15 years into his career, he began questioning his purpose in the Army.

“I realized that my purpose was to serve the people and the organizations that I serve with. My passion to be of service motivated me to wear this uniform,” he said. “I come to work with a smile on my face because I love what I do. It’s been said that ‘Soldiering is an affair of the heart.’ You’ve got to want to do it.”

Leadership, too, is an affair of the heart, and success requires a true commitment to the concepts of leadership.

“As their leader, employees and Soldiers have to know you care and that you are competent to lead,” Wyche said. “They have to have confidence and trust in you. They have to be able to say, ‘That’s my boss and I trust him.’ Leaders must set a good example, and they have to care not only for their employees but also for their families.”

Looking back on his service, Wyche said it is his family, and especially his wife, Denise, who had a 30-year career as a DA civilian, who he credits for his career’s success. Of all he’s accomplished, he is most proud of being able to make a difference in the lives of Soldiers and DA civilians.

“Watching the growth in the people who I have served with has been truly rewarding for me,” he said. “It has been truly an honor to wear this uniform and serve our Army and country.”

Inset Photo: Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche in the early days of his Army career. The general first enlisted in 1975 as a cavalry scout and then attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where he commissioned as a Quartermaster officer in 1982.

Assessing the Value of Education

By Dr. Al Roberts

Every year as the summer turns its focus toward the coming of autumn, back-to-school stories tend to proliferate in national and local media. One recurring theme seems to be the rising cost of college tuition and questions about its value and payback.

To be sure, college costs have risen, and they continue to rise. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute, released a report last year that documented the ways in which recession-related budgetary concerns led to cuts in the support of higher education. In 46 states, including Virginia, government spending per student continues to remain less than what it was prior to the beginning of the recession in 2008. In fact, based on inflation-adjusted dollars, funding for higher education in Virginia is now 22.5 percent less per student. Such reductions in support are one of the factors that contribute to rising tuition. In this fiscal climate, evaluating the return on investments in higher education seems fitting.

Some benefits fall outside the realm of dollars. College graduates tend to be healthier, more engaged in their communities, and better able to understand diverse points of view. In most assessments, however, the question of value revolves around expenditures and paybacks.

In Virginia, community colleges offer a lower-cost, value-based choice. According to information from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), tuition and mandatory fees for full-time, in-state undergraduates in Commonwealth’s four-year colleges averages $12,137. With fees of $9,989 for room and board, that yields a grand total of $22,126 per academic year. By comparison, here at Southside Virginia Community College in-state tuition and fees add up to $4,582.50 for 15 credit hours per semester for the entire 2017-18 academic year. Furthermore, 94 percent of beginning undergraduate students receive significant financial aid packages.

But what’s the payback?

College Measures, an initiative of the American Institutes for Research, studied that question. They found that students who graduate from a community college with an Associate’s degree in an occupational or technical field earn an average of $35,718 in the first year after graduation and $41,879 eight years after graduation. At VA.EdPays.org on-line you can download the entire report or interactively explore the data to learn more details about wage variations by field of study and region.  Additionally, students who earn an Associate’s degree in a transfer program can save approximately $35,000 on the cost of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. They also have an opportunity to establish their academic competitiveness and get a clearer picture of their overall career goals.

For more information about your higher education choices and opportunities, contact SVCC at 434-949-1000. Our team of academic and workforce advisors can help you get the most value from your education dollars.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Be Amazed at the Library

On Thursday, July 20th, join us at the Meherrin Regional Library System as Steve the Amazing Teacher teaches us about the magic of books through science and storytelling. You can even learn to build your own magic trick! The program will be held at 10:30 AM at the Brunswick County Library, Lawrenceville, and at 2:00 PM at the Richardson Memorial Library, Emporia.

Events begin promptly and seating is limited to a first come basis. For more information contact the Brunswick County Library at 434-848-2418, ext. 301, the Richardson Memorial Library at 434-634-2539, or visit www.meherrinlib.org.

Monday Morning Movies at the Library continue July 24th with Rock Dog. This movie is rated PG and is 129 minutes long. The movie will be shown at 10:30 AM at both the Brunswick County Library and the Richardson Memorial Library. Snacks are welcomed. Children under the age of 10 must be supervised.

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