Delta Omega Omega and Alpha Rho chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., will stay true to their purpose of serving all mankind at 1 p.m. today at Barraque Street Baptist Church, 1800 W. Pullen St., as they recognize the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by honoring veterans and military personnel.
The honorees will be Thomas Vaughn and Lt. Col. Jeffrey L. Foster.
This call to service supports the sorority’s social justice and human rights initiative under the umbrella of the international theme of “Global Leadership through Timeless Service.”
A member of Barraque Street Baptist Church, Vaughn is a 92-year-old World War II veteran who was selected by Tuskegee Airmen to train as an aircraft mechanic and who became a B25 Bomber aircraft mechanic in the Air Service training command. He was previously honored by being inducted into the Marianna High School Hall of Fame and, in 2012, he was also inducted into the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Hall of Fame. A dedicated member of the UAPB/AM&N Alumni Association, he is an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., honoree and a 1948 Gamma Delta Chapter initiate. Proud to have served as a horticulture specialist for UAPB from 1972 until his retirement in 1986, he also served as a farming adviser to former president, Bill Clinton, and was recognized by the White House for his outstanding work with small farmers as a full-time VISTA volunteer.
Foster, professor of military science, Army ROTC Golden Lion Battalion at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is a 1994 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin. He originally began his military career by enlisting in the U.S. Army Reserve as an armor crewman through the Split-Option Program. Once enrolled in UTM, he contracted with ROTC through the Simultaneous Member Ordnance Program. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps with branch detail to the infantry on active duty. He holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of Tennessee at Martin, a master of arts in management and leadership from Webster University, and a master of military arts and science in homeland security studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Foster’s awards and decorations include The Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with six Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, Basic Airborne Qualification Badge, and Basic Recruiter Badge. He is married to the former Theresa Rerisi, and they have four children.
The program will include an economic security informational for veterans and military personnel in attendance. By partnering with the Social Security Administration, the sorority will inform the men and women who served the country how the country can be of service to them. Representatives from Social Security will explain assistance benefits available to them, and a spokesman will articulate recent priorities for job assistance mentioned by President Barack Obama.
The program is open to the public, and area soldiers and veterans are invited to attend. For more information, contact the program chairman, Toni McCastle, at firstname.lastname@example.org.