Schwartz Discusses Veterans’ Issues With Library Friends

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, July 9, 2015

Friends of the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library recently met at the library.

Program chair Gerry Pettus introduced guest speaker Dean Schwartz. Dean works with veterans in the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward through his office at Southside Virginia Community College. The goal of this program is to develop a profile of veterans seeking employment or training. The profile encompasses jobs the veterans performed while in service and how that translates into coursework.

“If a veteran needs training at that point, we help them get into the program they need,” Schwartz said.

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Schwartz was a student at the University of Virginia at Wise when he joined the Army National Guard. During Operation Enduring Freedom his unit was activated, then deactivated, and Schwartz returned to his home in Keysville. Returning to school in the fall, he was once again activated and sent for training. He arrived in Iraq in March 2004.

While assigned to provide security during a road repair mission, the vehicle Schwartz was on was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Upon regaining consciousness, Schwartz realized his leg was missing. He also had an injury to his arm that prevented him from applying a tourniquet. Schwartz believes God put his sergeant, who was not supposed to go on the mission, at his side that day.

Schwartz noted that he thanked Sgt. Spurlock for saving his life. After shrugging it off, Spurlock told Schwartz, “Don’t waste it!”

After a grueling stint in Walter Reed Army Medical Center where his mother was constantly at his side, Schwartz finished school and started figuring out the rest of his life. Thanks to his constant reminder from his sergeant, Schwartz has not wasted a minute.

He previously worked to help other disabled veterans enter competitive sports and later moved back to Southside Virginia. He is married with two daughters, and he and his wife are expecting a baby boy in a couple of months.

Dean is currently studying for his Master of Arts in Teaching at Liberty University in hopes of becoming a teacher and coach. He is available to coach other veterans and can be contacted at

Dean talked with those in attendance and answered questions as refreshments were served.