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Tag : Veterans

By Katherine Richards

Veteran – Marcella, Army


Army, 1982-2004

If there was a Golden Globe for community-involvement, the recipient without a doubt would be Marcella. As a trained medic, EMT, and the Safety and Occupational Health Manager for the Navy, she was back and forth between active duty and the reserves before her official retirement in 2004. Marcella happened upon the Sustainability Institute through a coincidental meeting at a yoga class with the Institute’s Development Associate, the lovely Miss Katherine Westmoreland Richards. One conversation later Marcella decided to get her own house retrofitted. After much involvement and fascination with the process, she decided to join the VCC. The VCC is an addition to unimaginably extensive list of things she’s involved in, the kind of list that makes you feel guilty for indulging in a dash of TV. Because while you’re catching up on Season 6 of The Office, Marcella is probably working the Citizen Information Line for the Red Cross, volunteering for the Lowcountry Emergency Response Team, or perhaps upholding her duties as Emergency Response Chairperson for her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Just to name a few.

As one could imagine, Marcella can unquestionably be described as a social butterfly. Not only do her magnificently large wings help her to bring warmth and life to every flower she visits, they make her a well-connected woman. In the limited time she’s been working as a member of the VCC, only once has she worked on a house where she didn’t personally know the homeowners. Marcella passionately believes in the power of taking a few minutes at the start of each project to establish a relationship between the corps members and the homeowner. And the result? “You can physically see them exhale and relax”. This simple yet immensely impactful act embodies the Sustainability Institute’s very existence; the ability to create the personal connection that a larger corporate company cannot. Marcella has dedicated her life to sharing; whether it be resources, time, talent, or knowledge. Furthermore, she is passionate about sharing sustainably, which she defines as being able “to maintain and use more environmentally conscious materials”. At the end of the day, the engine behind the wonder woman more commonly known as Marcella, is her drive to “contribute meaningfully to the community”.  

By Katherine Richards

Veteran – Vincent, Marine Corps


Marine Corps, 1998-2005

A Baltimore boy with a big heart – meet Vincent. As a Marine Corps Vet, Vincent’s job took him all over the world; from North Carolina to Iraq, Japan, and Pennsylvania. Post service, he had a smooth transition back into everyday life, “they were two separate worlds with two separate sets of rules”. As most veterans hope to, Vincent returned home with a new sense of discipline, patience, and the ability to lead boldly. However, after a few temporary jobs and a period of homelessness Vincent was left dry of the drive he had when came home. And that’s when he found the Sustainability Institute. The VCC provided Vincent with exactly what it provides all its members, an opportunity. 

Not only does working as a representative of AmeriCorps give him a sense of pride, but every single skill he has learned with the VCC has been a new one. These newly acquired skills have scored Vincent an upcoming apprenticeship with local company, Energy One. New to the energy field but rapidly becoming a valuable asset to it, Vincent defines sustainability as “using the least amount of resources to make a large impact, being frugal, and being able to reach a plateau in life and maintain it”. And if that’s not a plateau enough, the VCC has enhanced this already humanitarian’s desire to volunteer and interact with the community more. “There’s a sense of fulfillment when you see a smile on a homeowner’s face”. To Vincent, helping others, mentoring youth, and empowering people isn’t a just pastime, it’s a passion. And if your heart is still intact in a solid state, hearing him express his love of children and his work with the Big Brother/Sister program will undoubtedly melt it. 

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