Veterans in the Classroom
First-hand accounts bring history to life!
- Improve school culture.
- Are a creative way to engage students.
- Build student interest in VHP Chapter participation.
- Are easy to implement for planned substitute days.
- Augment history and English language arts curriculum.
Fact Sheets and Lesson Plans are available along with other supportive materials.
Classroom Speakers Share Their Stories
COL. (Ret.) James Kelsey - Vietnam & Cold War
Jim served 30 years in infantry, special forces, and military intelligence. After two tours in Vietnam, he went on to Military Intelligence, at levels of command up to brigade including having supervision of 3200 military and civilian operators in Europe during the Fall of the Berlin Wall. He describes his job as being in charge of the "Jason Bourne’s." Jim also served as the Army’s principle liaison with the CIA, NSA and DIA during Operation Desert Storm. Jim completed his Army Service in 1995 as Chief of Staff and Garrison Commander at Fort Huachuca, AZ.
Col. (Ret.) Thomas H. Kirk, Jr. - Korea & Vietnam
Tom's life changed in 30 seconds when his F-105 fighter plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile while flying his 67th mission in Vietnam, forcing him to eject in a farmyard about 30 miles outside Hanoi. He would spend the next five-and-a-half years in the prison camp dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton." Tom spent two years in solitary confinement and lost 95 pounds during his captivity, but never lost his love for the United States.
Joe Brett - Vietnam Veteran
Joe Brett deployed to Vietnam in 1969 with the 108th Artillery Group in Dong Ha. His aerial forward observer group, the Sundowners, monitored enemy movement along the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and called in artillery and air strikes on North Vietnamese (NVA) soldiers, assessing the body count after each action. Joe often speaks of Moral Injury and how sharing his story has helped him to heal.
Dr. Jeanne Blaes - Cold War & Operation Enduring Freedom
Jeanne served in the U.S. Army/Arizona Army National Guard, retiring in 2007 as Colonel/Chief of Staff. She has been President of the Arizona Territorial Chapter of AUSA and is actively involved in events that support veterans pre- and post-deployment. She was inducted into Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society's Class of 2016 on Oct. 30.
Ken Stefanisin - War on Terror
Ken is a US Coast Guard Reserve War on Terror veteran who spent 27 years patrolling the Colorado River, enforcing marine safety and pollution investigations, as well as enhancing port security in the United States, Korea, and the Middle East to protect oil assets and personnel. As a Phoenix police officer, he was in the Counter Terrorism unit to guarantee the safety of sporting events and other public events.
Rose Mattie - Iraq & Afghanistan
Rose is a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter pilot and member of the history making, all-female elite Cultural Support Team (CST). She was trained at Ft. Bragg in Afghan culture, hand-to-hand combat, advances weaponry and more. The CSTs were a quiet experiment the Army created to improve the ability of their special forces to gather intelligence from the other 50% of the populations - the women.
Kathy Laurier - Vietnam
Kathy was a US Navy Seaman, Personnelman during the Vietnam era from 1965-1967. Since 2008, she developed a program to assist pregnant veterans and is currently the Central and Northern Arizona Coordinator for the Mission In America Project. MIAP locates unclaimed cremains of veterans and arranges proper military burial with full military honors.
LaRocque DuBose - WWII
At the age of 18 LaRocque enlisted in the Marines with permission from his parents, to prevent being drafted into the Army. Upon becoming a Marine, he decided to attend Sea School. In a very eventful year of service his ship, the USS Franklin, was attacked. After a series of near misses and explosions, "Rokey" found himself wounded and stranded in the middle of the ocean. At the Franklin's 50th year reunion. LaRocque was finally awarded his Purple Heart. LaRocque passed away in June 2019.