Celebrating Black History Month

The National Association of American Veterans, Inc. (NAAV) President and Chief Executive Officer Constance A. Burns attended the Black History Program on Friday, February 23, 2018, at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC. The theme “African Americans in Times of War” and program of events included Billy Bowen, Moderator; John P. Goodloe, Chaplain, Invocation; John Lott, history reading of “15 Military Heroes”; Erin Carlson Mast, Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage; RADM Stephen W. Rochon, USCG (Ret) Keynote Speaker with closing remarks and coin presentation awarded to RADM Rochon by Shaun Servais, AFRH-Washington Administrator.

About the Keynote Speaker

Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1970. In 1979, he served in the Coast Guard Reserve while attending Xavier University of Louisiana and graduated from there with his B.S. degree in business administration. In 1984, Rochon returned to active duty and served as Chief of the Reserve Training Branch of the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, Ohio. There, he organized the Coast Guard’s first combat skills course with the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia and served on temporary duty in the Middle East to train the Royal Jordanian Coast Guard. Rochon graduated from the National Defense University’s Industrial College in the Armed Forces in 1999 with his M.S. degree in National Resource Strategy, and become the Commanding Officer, Marine Safety Office, New Orleans.

In 2006, he became the Commander of Maintenance and Logistics Command at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Atlantic Headquarters; and, in 2007, he was named Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher at the White House for former President George W. Bush. The first African American to hold the position, Rochon ran the executive mansion for four years for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, executing all major events at the White House and preserving the nation’s most historic home.

On February 27, 2018, the National Association of American Veterans, Inc. (NAAV) President and Chief Executive Officer Constance A. Burns attended the African American History Month Program sponsored by the Women’s Memorial located at the Arlington National Cemetery.

This year’s theme “African Americans in Times of War” focused on the contributions of African Americans from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms. Dee Ann McWilliams, President, WIMSA, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret) welcomed attendees at this event. Ms. Verna Jones, Executive Director, The American Legion, National Headquarters, Washington, DC presented the keynote address. Ms. Verna L. Jones’ responsibilities include directing The American Legion’s DC Divisions concerning policy and field operations; acting as the organization’s direct liaison with the White House; and overseeing the Legion’s relationships at each level of the federal administration.


Prior to the Executive Director appointment, Ms. Jones held several positions, to include Director, in The American Legion’s National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, assisting veterans in receiving the healthcare and benefits they have earned.

Ms. Jones is a United States Army veteran and served as a personnel sergeant until 1995.
She is a member of American Legion Post #55 in Winston Salem, NC.

Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington Veterans Memorial and Recognition Service

On February 28, 2018, NAAV President and Chief Executive Officer Constance A. Burns and Ms. Jean S. Ringuette, U.S. Army, World War II veteran and resident at the AFRH-W attended the Memorial Services held at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC. The theme “With Humility and Thanksgiving, We Remember” – In Dedication to our Fallen Comrades – Men and Women of Service.” This Memorial and Recognition Service was held in the Scott Building Meditation Room at the AFRH-Washington.

Veterans included in the January/February 2018 Memorial and Recognition Service included Edward F. Davis, November 26, 1921-January 29, 2018, United States Army; Edna Jo Colvard, October 17, 1919 – January 4, 2018, United States Army; Stanley Kunda, March 6, 1928 – January 24, 2018, United States Army; Rudolf Liskovee, Sr., January 16, 1924 – January 11, 2018, United States Army; Jose A. Ortiz-Alicea, December 7, 1922 – January 6, 2018, United States Army; Bonnie J. Reilly, June 16, 1940 – January 16, 2018, United States Army and United States Air Force; John Scholz, September 12, 1933 – January 11, 2018, United States Army; and Edward “Billie” Terrell, May 13, 1926 – January 31, 2018, United States Navy.