Last Friday, we had our first formal get-together and cook-out. It was great to have most of the VNEOC team together as we continue to practice social distancing.

We took this time to reflect and remember our late Executive Director Command Master Chief John Ratka. Those of you who attended his wake received a memorial card, which read “LIFE IS TOO SHORT.”

Life is too short to live with regrets so love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who do not. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy. They just promised it would most likely be worth it…

Every employee here plays an important role in changing the lives of those going through difficult times. Sometimes it can be as simple as a smile, a gesture, or word of recognition. More often, though, it will require time, patience and commitment.

We here at VNEOC are changing the lives of those who served our Country in defense of Freedom. We owe it to ourselves and those we serve to continue to improve and strive to perfect our lives, mentally, physically and spiritually. We do this, and we will always be prepared to improve the lives of others and provide them with opportunities and upward mobility. It won’t be easy, but I promise, it most likely will be worth it.

VNEOC has been changing the lives of Veterans for 35 years. John Ratka spent nearly 20 years working to improve this organization and increase our ability to change the lives of the Veterans we serve. His tireless dedication to increase the services and resources for our veterans was remarkable and we the leadership team remain committed to his agenda.

No one is more committed to improving this organization than our Supportive Services Department Director, Master Sergeant, Scot Forbes US Airforce (Ret), a Veteran who saw a chance and took it. Originally hired as a Case Manager for our Transition in Place (TIP) program, Scott Forbes would quickly display his leadership qualities and advance to Program Manager. His situational awareness and exceptional organizational skills quickly transformed TIP. It wasn’t long before his outstanding deeds would propel him to a well-deserved upper management position as Supportive Services Department Director.

Scot Forbes’ deeds are well documented and widely recognized. His commitment to this organization was recognized and greatly appreciated by the Board of Directors. They realized that his professional leadership helped preserve the unique requirements and professional goals of the organization and the Veterans we serve. On Friday July 31st, the Board of Directors ceremoniously promoted him to the position of “Chief Operations Officer”

Congratulations Chief Operations Officer Scot Forbes! We look forward to a highly successful career at VNEOC and many more accomplishments and accolades.

There were many other staff members who have displayed outstanding dedication to our organization and the Veterans we serve during this COVID-19 pandemic, and I look forward to sharing their accomplishments and recognition in my next posting.