Veterans Spotlight

Eggleston values everyone who supports our mission to train, educate, and employ people of all abilities across Hampton Roads. We are especially proud of our employees who have chosen to come and work with us following their service to our country. Our Veterans help make Eggleston great! We are dedicated to employing those who served and appreciate the wealth of experience, knowledge and skills Veterans bring to their jobs here at Eggleston.

Our Warrior Bridge program is an important way we support the employment and success of Veterans in Hampton Roads. This program is designed to meet any veteran where they are in their career path and support their efforts in civilian transition.

Ilona Croumbles

Veteran spotlight February 2024

Where were you born and raised? “I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina but raised all over the world. My Father was active in the Marines for 22 years.”

What branch of the military did you serve in? “Navy”

How many years did you serve in the military? “10”

What made you decide to join the military? “I joined the military because I wanted to see more of the world. I love to travel.”

What was your job in the military? “I came into the military as a Storekeeper (Supply) and then cross-rated to Cryptologic Operator (Classified Communicator)”

What commands were you assigned to?

  • Boot Camp Orlando, FL
  • Naval Air Station Bermuda
  • Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton,  CT (Admiral Staff)
  • USS WASP (LHD-1)

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally?” I think being in the military as well as being a military child gives you the opportunity to experience many different things. It gives a person the capacity to see situations in different ways.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)?“Good order is the foundation of all things.”

Other info you would like to share/hobbies?“We are a dual military family as my husband is retired military. In my off time I enjoy many of the Hampton Roads local festivities and music concerts.”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston?“I believe that discipline and organization are an important part of finance and those were both improved in the military.”

Chris Hoagland

Chris Hoagland

United States Navy 1985-2009

Where were you born and raised? “Brooklyn, NY. My family moved from upstate NY to Long Island when I was 10 where I remained until I enlisted on my 17th birthday”

What branch of the military did you serve in? “United States Navy”

How many years did you serve in the military? “24 years (1985 – 2009)”

What made you decide to join the military? “I was in Junior ROTC in High School and loved the structure. My older brother had also joined, and I wanted a challenge.”

What was your job in the military?

  • 1985-1996 Electronics Technician (as an enlisted Sailor)
  • 1996-2009 Surface Warfare Officer (as a commissioned Officer)

What commands were you assigned to?

  • Thurso, Scotland – Satellite Communications Maintenance Repair Technician
  • Fort Gordon, Georgia, Instructor – Satellite Communications Maintenance Course Instructor
  • USS San Jacinto (CG 56), Division Officer – Communications Officer
  • USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) Division Officer – Deck Department
  • Afloat Training Group, Norfolk, Division Officer – Anti-Surface Warfare Team
  • USS Elrod (FFG 55), Department Head – Combat Systems Officer
  • Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Crew Conflict – Executive Officer & Navigator
  • Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) Dam Neck, Department Head – Operations Officer

What is your most memorable moment in the military? There are several:

  • Being part of the memorial ceremony, escorting friends & family members of the deceased and surviving Sailors of the USS COLE (DDG 67) bombing.
  • During a port visit in Spain, being invited to a family’s home to enjoy a home cooked meal and learning/playing Bocce in their backyard.
  • Acting as the senior liaison during a conference in Croatia where I delivered a presentation on how the US Navy conducts Anti-Submarine Warfare and then attending a seven-course meal with my team given in honor of our visit.
  • Serving as Executive Officer on a Mine Sweeper and having several junior Officers express gratitude for helping to shape their careers
  • Having the opportunity to be an extra in a movie while attending Auburn University.
  • Coming home from deployments and surprising my children. On one occasion I surprised my daughter when she got off the school bus, she ran into my arms knocking us both to the ground. On another occasion, my son ran across the pier, jumped into my arms and gave me a bear hug.
  • Taking my eight-year-old son on the first of two Tiger Cruises, watching him stand on a milk crate to shoot the .50 cal machine gun.

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally?

  • Personally: While attending Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL, I met my wife of more than 36 years and have two beautiful, independent adult children. I was also the first one in my family to graduate from college.
  • Professionally: Developing leadership skills that I still use today. Getting to visit and explore various parts of the world I probably wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to. Participating in world events whether it’s being underway off the coast of Greece acting in a maritime protection role during the 2004 Olympics or taking part in Maritime Interdiction Operations in support of UN Resolutions and sanctions against Iraq.

What is your favorite quote (if any)?

  • Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

Other info you would like to share/hobbies?

  • Love watching college football/basketball.
  • While attending Auburn, I was an extra in a movie and got to meet Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Nell Carter, Mary Steenburgen, Roddy McDowell, Charles Durning and Auburn alum Octavia Spencer.

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston? “Being able to interface with military and government officials in their language is tremendously helpful in not only contract discussions, but everyday communications. Rising through the ranks, changing jobs every 3 years meant tackling ever increasing responsibilities in both personnel, administrative, and operational matters. Learning how to communicate with entirely different staffs at each location, including when senior officers rotated in/out of the command, has prepared me to be responsive to change and strengthened my ability to share the larger picture within my department.”

Shawn Heckstall

Shawn Heckstall

United States Army 2004-2016

Where were you born and raised? “Norfolk Virginia. Also spent a lot time in Virginia Beach”

What branch of the military did you serve in? “US Army”

How many years did you serve in the military? “12 years (medically retired)”

What made you decide to join the military? “It wasn’t planned. I took my friend to see his recruiter. The recruiter convinced me to join. One month later I was in basic training.”

What was your job in the military? “92G Food Service”

What commands were you assigned to?

  • 2nd ID
  • 1/9 Infantry
  • 4th, ID 1/12 INF
  • 2ID
  • 702D

What is your most memorable moment in the military? “I was set on getting out after my 15-month tour in Iraq. The last month in Iraq, I went to the promotion board and was recommended for Sergeant. The following year, I was promoted to Sergeant. Eight months later I was promoted to Staff Sergeant. Three years later I was promoted to Sergeant First Class. In seven years, I made E-7, when the average time is 14 years. Four years prior, I hated the military and was set on getting out. I wasn’t happy with the way I planned on exiting and knew I could do better. I stayed in and progressed the best way I knew how.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally? “Personally, I met some of the most awesome people. All my best friends I met while serving. Even though we all live in different states/countries, we find a way to see and stay in touch with each other. Professionally, I became a better leader. The military humbled me and introduced me to so many different personalities and cultures.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)? “Be ready, you don’t have to get ready (Drill Sergeant Thomas).”

Other info you would like to share/hobbies?
“I love bowling and small kickbacks at the house. I also became very fond of card games and day parties.”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston? “I was put in leadership roles that were very stressful. In the military I learned to ask questions. I also learned to trust in the chain of command and follow it. I met so many different people and personalities while serving, which has been the same working with Eggleston. I became disabled while in the Army. My condition helps me relate to the employees here at Eggleston. Being disabled has not stopped me from achieving goals.”

Ron Pierce

Ron Pierce

United States Navy 1999-2012

Where were you born and raised? “San Diego, CA”

What branch of military did you serve in? “U.S Navy”

How many years did you serve in the military? “13 yrs (1999-2012)”

What made you decide to join the military? “I wanted to travel and see the world”

What was your job in the military? “I was Sonar Technician Second Class- I operated combat-system equipment to identify, track and collect scientific undersea data used for boat defense and navigation.”

What commands were you assigned to?

  • Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Ctr.
  • USS Rodney M Davis (FFG 60)
  • Surface Combat Systems Center, Wallops Island
  • USS Stethem (DDG 63)
  • USS Donald Cook (DDG 75)

What is your most memorable moment in the military? “Coming home after a 9 month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and seeing the pier full of people cheering for us. Everyone was misty-eyed. It was an amazing feeling to be returning home.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally? “It has allowed me to visit countries I could only have dreamed. It also helped me develop a very strong work ethic. ”

What is your favorite quote (if any)? “Ain’t nothing to it but to do it”

Other info you would like to share/hobbies?
“I’m proud to be a Veteran. I enjoy PC gaming,, weight lifting, photo editing, and DDP Yoga.”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston? “The military emphasizes attention to detail which I apply daily in my current role with Eggleston. ”

Mary Lynette Clark

Mary Lynette Clark

United States Navy 1985 – 2015

Where were you born and raised? “Saxton, PA”

What branch of military did you serve in? “United States Navy (Go Navy! Beat Army!)”

How many years did you serve in the military? “30 years, 1985-2015”

What made you decide to join the military? “Follow in grandfathers footsteps and to see the world. I also did not know what I wanted to study in college for a career so I knew it was not the right time to further my education.”

What was your job in the military? “Enlisted I was a Torpedoman’s Mate achieving the rank of E-7 (Chief Petty Officer). Officer I was a Surface Ordnance LDO achieving the rank of O-4 (Lieutenant Commader).”

What commands were you assigned to?

  • RTC Orlando, FL
  • Naval Submarine Support Facility (NSSF) Groton, CT
  • USS Yosemite (AD-19) Mayport, FL
  • Naval Magazine, Guam
  • NRD Houston, TX
  • USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)
  • USS San Jacinto (CG-56)
  • OHSAT Norfolk, VA
  • USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
  • Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV)
  • Special Boat Team 21 Virginia Beach, VA

What is your most memorable moment in the military? “Way too many moments to choose just one. My oath of enlistment, shipmates, countries visited, launching Tomahawks during the war, the night sky at sea, scuba diving in Guam, sitting in VIP stands to watch Space Shuttle land, shellback ceremony, making Chief, making LDO.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally? Personally: gave me direction; made me part of a team; it got me out of a small town that had nothing to offer; visited many countries my favorite being Greece.” Professionally: I got to see and experience many jobs which helped me select a job I loved; continuous job skills and leadership training; paid for my education.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)? “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S Thompson

Other info you would like to share/hobbies?
Read: currently reading books by Ken Follet.” Cook: food is my love language for family and friends.” “ATV-UTV 4-wheeling with my niece and nephews.” “Pittsburgh Steelers”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston? “Each Sailor was unique and I loved training and guiding young Sailors to be the best professional and personal version of themselves. I was able to use this experience when I started at Eggleston as Intake Coordinator, then Employment Specialist, to my current position as a Program Coordinator.”

Tamsyn Spence

United States Army 1997–2005

Where were you born and raised?  “I spent all of my childhood years in Chesapeake County with my mom until the age of 9 when she passed then I was raised by my Aunt and Uncle.”

In what branch of the military did you serve? “Army and Army Reserve”

How many years did you serve in the military? “Eight years – from 1997 – 2005”

What made you decide to join the military?  “I originally went into the military to get away from my living situation at the time. It later became a life challenge to accomplish and succeed.”

What was your job in the military?  “As a Medic, my job was to provide emergency medical care for wounded soldiers.”

To what commands were you assigned? “Fort Leonard Wood (Boot Camp); Fort Sam Houston (AIT); Fort Carson (1st Duty Station); Illesheim, Germany (2nd Duty Station); Fort Story (Reserve Duty Station); Fort McCoy (2-Week Drill Assignment)”

What is your most memorable moment in the military?  “Being in boot camp during the combat night training using night vision goggles and crawling under bob wire and thru trenches to survive, flares going over your head and your adrenaline going all over the place, firing your weapon to try and defeat the enemy. Although fun, I am very thankful it was just a training exercise rather than being faced with that task.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally?  “It has taught me to live by the honor code and to strive to be as professional as possible. As a veteran of the military, it makes me proud when we are acknowledged and thanked for our service. Although I have never fought in war, I have helped a lot of soldiers while performing my duties as a Medic.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)?  “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you Luke 6:31”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston?  “It has given me a lot of medical training and knowledge to be able to successfully work with people with disabilities and being able to connect and understand them better. It has taught me patience, integrity, and selfless service that I provide to all the associates I work with at Eggleston.”

What other hobbies/interests do you have?  “I am an Events and Party Planner! I run a business called “Elevation Party Planner” for all your birthday, wedding, baby shower, and bridal shower needs. I also love to make custom party favors and enjoy shopping and doing arts and craft projects.”

VET SPOTLIGHT TRINA

PFC Quintrina Gallop (Trina)

United States Army 2000-2003

Where were you born and raised?  “I was born and grew up in Norfolk, VA and served in the United States Army.”

In what branch of the military did you serve? “US Army”

How many years did you serve in the military? “Four years – from 2000 – 2003”

What made you decide to join the military?  “Multiple factors influenced my decision to join the Army. I was a member of JROTC at Maury High School and with several family members also serving in the military, I knew the Army would provide her the opportunity to travel and become self-sufficient.”

What was your job in the military?  “To handle and maintain the Army’s ammunition, missiles and rockets.”

To what commands were you assigned? “I have completed Army Basic Training in Fort Jackson, S.C. and Advance Individual Training (AIT) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL., where I developed my skills and knowledge as an Army Ammunition Specialist.”

What is your most memorable moment in the military?  “Enduring those 12 mile humps, sleeping in foxholes, rope repelling and ultimately graduating from basic training was unforgettable.” It’s clear that I am very proud to be a veteran with honorable service to our nation. I have no regrets, and if given the opportunity, says I’d do it all over again.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally?  “I spent the majority of her military career in Killeen, Texas at Fort Hood Army Base, maturing both personally and professionally. “My military experience helped me cultivate self-respect as well as respect for authority.” I also expresses gratitude for the long-lasting relationships I developed with my fellow soldiers while on active duty, many of whom I remains friends to this today.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)?  “Getting older is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston?  “I have been part of the Eggleston team as a Direct Support Professional since 2007. I and my family reside in Norfolk.”

veterans-spotlight-craig-lyons

LNC (SW/AW) CRAIG LYONS

United States Navy 1995-2016

Where were you born and raised?  “I grew up in Carpentersville, IL and made a decision to join the Navy during my junior year of high school. My naval career began at Navy Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, IL.”

In what branch of the military did you serve? “US Navy

How many years did you serve in the military? “22 years – from 1995 – 2016

What made you decide to join the military?  “The Navy provided gave me a chance to move away from home and an opportunity to travel and see the world.”

To what commands were you assigned? “After graduating from basic training and completing A-School, I reported to Air Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS-41) in San Diego, CA. My other duty stations included the USS Fitzgerald, USS Bataan and Naval Legal Service Office, Washington, DC.”

What is your most memorable moment in the military?  “Great joy in being able to travel to countries such as Japan, Italy, Singapore and Australia. However, one of my most memorable moments was being promoted to Chief Petty Officer while serving aboard the USS Bataan.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally?  “Serving in the military taught me discipline and responsibility, raising me “from being a young boy to a professional young man.” I would like to move forward from my injury to be a new person going in a positive direction. I am also giving credit to my motorcycle club, Dirty Riders, for their continued love and support.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)?  “Only stress about the things that you can control.”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston?  “I have been a club member of Eggleston’s Beacon House since 2017.”

veterans-spotlight-donald-malenovitch

SGT Donald A Malenovitch

United States Army 1985-1993

Where were you born and raised?  “I was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and happy that the Eagles won Superbowl 52!”

In what branch of the military did you serve? “US Army”

How many years did you serve in the military? “Nine years – from 1985 – 1993”

What made you decide to join the military?  “I needed to change my life for the better. At age 13 while in a foster home, I made a decision to change my life so that someday, my children could be proud of me.”

What was your job in the military?  “I dreamed of going into the services and becoming a soldier. Upon graduation from high school, I went to Basic Training in Fort Benning, GA – Home of the Infantry. My first duty station was Garlstadt Germany, 4th Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, where I served for three years. My military occupational skill was 11B Infantryman, later changing to 11M (Mechanized Infantryman), as well as operating the Bradley Fight Vehicle.”

To what commands were you assigned? “Operation Desert Shield with the 5th Battalion – 18th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division from Friedberg, Germany. My company was responsible for securing a highway between Baghdad and Basra; processing over 200 Iraqi fighters in a single day.”

What is your most memorable moment in the military?  “Most memorable moments was serving as the Battalion Commander’s gunner on the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, when I shot a perfect score (1000 out of 1000) on the firing range. I was one of the best in his division.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)?  “True love for country and believes that everyone should “be all they can be”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston?  “I have been the Program Manager of Eggleston at Civitan since 2015.”

Veteran’s Spotlight Tom Redinger

United States Navy 1976 – 1998

Where were you born and raised?  “Pittsburg, PA”

In what branch of the military did you serve? “US Navy”

How many years did you serve in the military? “20 years – from 1976 – 1998

What made you decide to join the military?  “A Navy recruiter visited my High School and encouraged me to join the Navy Seabees or Civil Engineer Corps.”

What was your job in the military?  “Construction Mechanic Petty Officer First Class. I was responsible for the repairs and maintenance of all heavy construction and automotive equipment.”

To what commands were you assigned? “NAS Adak, Alaska, Diego Garcia, Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and several Naval Mobile Construction Battalions.”

What is your most memorable moment in the military?  “My final tour in the Navy serving with the Navy Seal Team Six was the best experience of my entire career.”

How did the military benefit you personally and professionally?  “The military provided me with an education, training and skills to succeed as a professional.”

What is your favorite quote (if any)?  “GO STEELERS !!!”

How did the military benefit you in your current role with Eggleston?  “My training as a Construction Mechanic has equipped me with all the skills needed to perform the duties as Shop Supervisor of Eggleston Auto Center (EAC).”

What other hobbies/interests do you have?  “I enjoy softball & basketball”