01-02-2020 Watervliet grad retires from U.S. Army after serving 29 years

Watervliet grad retires from U.S. Army after serving 29 years

Colonel Holly A. Gay, a native of Watervliet was the subject of honor at a retirement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Colonel Gay graduated from Watervliet High School in 1986 and entered Michigan State University to continue her education. In her sophomore year at MSU in 1988, she joined ROTC in order to pay for college. She went to Fort Knox for Basic Camp (which is Basic Training for ROTC Cadets) and received a two-year scholarship which paid for classes.

Colonel Gay says she truly enjoyed her 29 years in the Army. She has led and learned from some amazing people and experienced interesting and challenging jobs and missions. For the majority of her career, she has changed jobs, units or location every 14-24 months and loved it. She could not have done any of this without the loving support of her family and friends. Colonel Gay’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2 Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, six Meritorious Service Medals, Army Commendation Medal, five Army Achievement Medals, Army Staff Identification Badge and various unit and service medals and ribbons. Additionally, Colonel Gay was awarded the Order of Horatio Gates Bronze Medal from The Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association. In addition to her dual Bachelor of Arts degrees awarded at MSU, she has a master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic

Studies from the Naval War College. Additionally, she is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a certified Mediator and Trainer in Workplace Conflict Resolution. She states, one of the things she learned in the Army is be careful of what you ask for – it rarely works out how you think it will – but if you are willing to embrace the unexpected – opportunities open up. Also, if you walk into an assignment or location thinking it will be miserable… guess what – it will be miserable. Attitude is everything. Looking back, she thinks the best thing she learned to do in every Army assignment is to find at least one thing she liked about the location or unit. When she ran into challenging times she always remembered that eventually something or someone would change or move one– it’s the nature of being in the Army. It’s not static. She loves the fact when she looks back at her pictures of all the units or sections she was in, especially the Human Resources ones, they are filled with diversity. It reinforced her belief that everyone brings something to the table and if we are willing to listen to each other – we will learn and continue to grow. Great ideas come from the most unexpected places. Communication is wonderful. At U.S. Army Human Resources Command there is a huge scope of the mission to take care of the Army, soldiers and families from cradle to grave. She felt that she learned something new every day and that it doesn’t matter how many years you work in a profession like the Army– you can always learn something else and you should never let yourself get stale – be curious. Colonel Gay learned to live for today – not yesterday – which can be very hard to do in reality. However, being exposed to Casualty Mortuary Affairs throughout her career gave her a perspective. Life, illness, and death happen whether you are prepared or not. When asked of her future plans during her reset year of 2020 she said she is looking forward to spending time with her family in Hartford and traveling around the United States. Finally visiting Europe (since the Army never allowed her to be stationed there) and then taking her little camper and hitting the road.

COLOMA YOUTH WRESTLING AT SOUTH HAVEN… Brody Ashley, son of Sara and Kenny Ashley, looks ready to put the finishing touches on his opponent. Brody, wrestling for the Coloma Youth Wrestling program, won his age group. He is 9, in the 66 pound weight class, as he went 5-0 with four pins at the South Haven tournament Sunday, Dec. 29. Brody attends Coloma Intermediate School. See more sports news on Pages 8-10


Hartford Schools Superintendent receives positive evaluation & extended contract

By Jon Bisnett The Hartford Public School Board approved the 2019 school year evaluation of Superintendent Andy Hubbard as effective, adding a one-year contract extension through June 30, 2022 at the final meeting of 2019 on Monday, Dec. 16. The board conducted the evaluation in closed session during its December 2 Work Study session.

Finance Normal monthly bills were presented and paid. Business Manager Rebecca Drake noted Chromebook Cart was purchased for Alternative Education Program due to increased attendance and enrollment. Textbook reimbursements for all dual enrollment students were paid out. A second Chromebook Cart was purchased with Bilingual 41a state funds for the high school and middle school.

Personnel Elementary Paraprofessional Linda Kanyuh is retiring after over 18 years of service to the district.

Business The board adopted a formal a Resolution opposing Michigan State Senate Bill 540. SB 540 would mandate training for all elected school board members. The measure fails to provide funding that training, thus gather disfavor among school boards across the state along with the Michigan Association of School Boards. Approval was given to 2019 – 2020 General Fund Budget Amendments including updated Federal Grant Allocations; increased Foundation per Pupil amount from $180 to $240; and decreased blended student enrollment from 1,335 to 1,315. Also approved was the 2019 – 2020 School Service Fund (Food Service) Budget Amendment reflecting increased Federal revenue and increases of expenditures for additional equipment purchases. The fund continues to maintain a healthy balance. Further approval was granted to the 2019 – 2020 Capital Projects Fund Budget and creation of a special account for long term capital needs.

Student Representative Report Board President Ben Chambers welcomed new student representative, Jacob Morales. A member of the junior class, Morales reported on the Annual High School Food Drive, National Honor Society Shopping Trip, Jobs for Michigan Grads Induction Ceremony and the new Winter Formal.

Board Member Report Trustee Rick Vawter reported on information from an MASB training he recently attended dealing with Organizational Meetings. Discussion of protocol regarding public input at meetings was a major topic.

Superintendent Report Superintendent Hubbard reported the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency notified the district via email earlier in week they will no longer support MiSuite software after 2023. Business Manager Drake along with the Van Buren Intermediate School District will be working together to find a new financial software program for the District. The Van Buren Intermediate School District Board of Education has approved placing the newly-proposed countywide Special Education Enhancement Millage on the March 10, 2020 Ballot. The auditorium lighting and sound update projects were completed just in time for holiday student performances. The facility looks and sounds great. Thanks go out to Auditorium Director Joe MacMillan for all of his time working with contractors through the first major facility technical update in 30 years.

Hubbard also noted the vocal concert held recently was very well attended and the groups sounded great recognizing Choir Director Alyson Wendzel as the vocal music program continues to develop and grow.

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