Patrick Henry Community College will receive a four-star general on Tuesday, Nov. 11 for a special program to observe Veterans Day. Via will be available for interviews immediately following the program at 11 a.m.
Gen. Dennis L. Via, a native of Henry County, is the 18th commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). He also was a graduate from George Washington Carver High School. Curtis Millner Sr., a member of the school board for Henry County and a retired chief warrant officer of the U.S. Army, has known Via for 34 years.
“All of us who went to George Washington Carver are overwhelmed that one of ours could rise to the highest rank in the U.S. Army," Millner said. “We see so many of our people who become successful in life, and they forget about their hometown. His coming here is a way of giving back to our young people. He’s encouraging them and telling them to shoot for the stars."
Via’s visit is coordinated in part by Phyllis Fleming, a PHCC English professor and commander of the AMVETS Post No. 35 in Collinsville. She said this occasion is rare for area veterans and the community.
“General Via’s visit demonstrates our area’s commitment to the veterans who have served our country with honor and distinction,” she said. “This year, General Via is honoring those who served in the Korean War. I am privileged, both as a veteran and faculty member of PHCC, to be part of this celebration. As commander of AMVETS Post No. 35, I look forward to shaking the hand of a four-star general who has served our country with honor, pride and distinction. I also look forward to thanking him for his service.”
The program will begin at 9:45 a.m. in Stone Hall at PHCC. The Martinsville/Henry County Veterans Color Guard and the Magna Vista High School choral group will lead the crowd in the Posting of Colors and national anthem. Following a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony by the AMVETS Auxiliary, Via will deliver an address.
Via assumed his current role on Aug. 7, 2012. The U.S. Army Materiel Command is one of the largest commands in the U.S. Army with nearly 65,000 Soldiers and Civilians having an impact in all 50 U.S. states and 145 countries around the world. If a soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, communicates with it or eats it, the Army Materiel Command provides it, giving our nation’s warfighters the decisive edge whenever and wherever needed.
Via was commissioned in the U.S. Army on May 18, 1980 in the Signal Corps after graduating as a distinguished military graduate from Virginia State University. He holds a master’s degree from Boston University, graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1991 and the U.S. Army War College in 1999. He’s received numerous distinguished and meritorious accolades throughout his career.