Several Northern Virginia veterans were honored last month at the American Veterans 76th National Convention in Greensboro, N.C.
The award presentation honoring first responders was coordinated by Amvets’ HEAL Program, which assists veterans with medical needs and quality healthcare.
“These first responders are life savers and should be applauded for their relentless effort to save others even if it means sacrificing time away from their families and working long hours,” said Cherissa Jackson, the organization’s chief medical officer.
Jackson said it was important to ensure a woman veteran was included. “Knowing that women veterans are a priority for this organization, it was only fitting that a woman veteran is here as one of the honorees.”
That honoree was Selena Bermudez, a veteran employment manager in Northern Virginia with the Jobs for Veterans program at the Virginia Employment Commission.
Bermudez, now working on her doctorate in psychology with a specialization in addiction, served in the Navy for nine years, and was involved in communications in support of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield.
Jackson said that after her military service, Bermudez has given back to veterans in the community, including serving as commander, service officer and chaplain for the Woodbridge chapter of Disabled American Veterans. She also has served as chair of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce veterans council and helped the National Veterans Training Institute and the Department of Labor develop a curriculum to assist homeless veterans with employment.
“Serena believes that providing a hand up to a veteran, instead of a hand out, is what it’s all about,” Jackson added.
Other local honorees were Prince William County Supervisor Victor Angry, who served in the Army for more than 23 years, including as command sergeant major of the Army National Guard, and state Sen. Jeremy McPike, who represents Manassas, Manassas Park and parts of Dale City, Buckhall, Neabsco and Potomac Mills. Both Angry and McPike have served as local volunteer firefighters.