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Salute to service

We, in America, have much to be grateful for when it comes to the service of U.S. military members. When we reflect on these veterans, I think we largely tend to think of them solely within the context of their roles in one of the five branches. But for those who return home, their service simply takes a different form.

I have been struck lately by how the Farmville community and its colleges have benefited from men who first served extensively in the military and then came here and made significant impacts through service in civilian life.

Of course, I’m reminded of the late Lt. Gen. Samuel V. Wilson, who had a historic 37-year career in the U.S. Army before becoming president of Hampden-Sydney College from 1992-2000.

Last week, we learned that Patrick Finnegan, Longwood University’s president from 2010-12, had died.

In the “Past Presidents” section of Longwood’s website, the description of Finnegan appropriately highlights his service in the military as well as at Longwood:

“The 25th president came to Longwood University after serving as the chief academic officer at the United States Military Academy at West Point, his alma mater. He held the rank of brigadier general and for many years was an Army lawyer who wrote articles and gave presentations on military law, torture and terrorism. Among his accomplishments at Longwood are the creation of an academic strategic plan through a campus wide collaborative process, securing membership in the Big South Conference for the athletics program and creating an Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to seek funding for the faculty’s scholarly activities.”

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.