Pellissippi State Community College alumnus Randy Martinez was honored on Veterans Day by his alma mater and by the Tennessee Board of Regents, the system that governs the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 technical colleges.
Martinez, who graduated from Pellissippi State in 2017, received the Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans, which was accompanied by a Challenge Coin from Chancellor Flora Tydings. The TBR and Tydings established the new commendation as a system-level award to honor the service, bravery and sacrifices of military veterans in the campus communities.
Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr. said Martinez was a decorated soldier during his time in the service and an engaged learner and leader while in school. “We are grateful for Randy and pleased to honor him today.”
Martinez served in the U.S. Army for eight years, earning the rank of Specialist 4th Class. He served in the United States, Korea and the Middle East and was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Army Commendation Medal twice, the Unit Commendation Medal twice, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
As a student at Pellissippi State, Martinez served as a new student orientation leader, a veteran’s affairs work study, an officer with the Student Veterans Club and a mentor for new student veterans. He was deeply involved in volunteer activities supporting homeless veterans at the Mountain Home Domiciliary in Johnson City, as well as assisting with several clean-up projects at Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park in Knoxville. Martinez also is a gifted cook and provided many delicious meals to student veterans, staff and faculty while he was a student at Pellissippi State.
“Randy’s caring nature, easy humor and innate kindness made him a favorite across the college,” said Rachael Cragle of Pellissippi State’s Veteran Support Committee. “We are proud of his accomplishments and pleased to call him one of our own.”
Martinez earned his associate degree in business administration at Pellissippi State. He transferred to King University and earned a bachelor’s degree in business. Martinez is now a member of the quality control management team at C.R. Barger & Sons Inc. in Lenoir City, with plans to pursue a master’s degree in project management.
“Pellissippi State has a great support structure between the faculty and staff, and the Veteran Support Committee was just phenomenal,” Martinez said. “Without them, I know for a fact that I would not have graduated. And as an alum, I was able to come back and still get help; these people were still willing to sit with me and do the tutoring. There is so much Pellissippi State offers, not just to veterans but to all students, that it would be silly not to take advantage of it.”
Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.