City of Greenville Police Department Color Guard

Veterans Vigil Committee

Paige Bussell

Paige BussellHello - I am serving as co-chair for the Veterans’ Vigil Committee. This is my 6th year on the committee and as always, I look forward to honoring those who have served our country. I have been employed with A&M-Commerce for 22 years. I earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration in 2002. Like many, some of my family members have served our country going back to the 1940’s. My grandfather, Jack Downing, served in the United States Navy with the Twenty-Second Naval Construction Battalion from June 13, 1942 to November 20, 1945. My great uncle, Scott Downing, volunteered for the Army Air Corp in September 1942. He flew 20 Combat Missions from January 1945 to May 25, 1945.

Dustin Pearson

Dustin PearsonHello, I am Dustin Pearson and I am serving as co-chair or the Veterans’ Vigil Committee. This is my 3rd year on the committeeam a Purple Heart Veteran who served in the United States Army from 2003-2008 with the 2nd Battalion 9th Infantry Regiment and mostly with 101st Airborne1/327th infantry regiment as an 11 Bravo Infantryman. After the military I went on to earn my Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Texas A&M University-Commerce. I now work for Texas A&M University Commerce as the Veterans & Military Services Specialist. It has been a joy to give back to my brothers and sisters in arms, what was once given to me. It is my everyday duty to provide a selfless service to our over 800 Veteran and Dependent population at my Alma Mater.

Donna Spinato

Donna SpinatoI am honored to serve on the Veterans’ Vigil Committee. It shows the pride for my country and in a small way I can give back to those men and women that served in the military. I come from a military background. My Father was in the United States Air Force. Father in Law served in the Navy. Numerous cousins served military time for their country. This is my tenth year to serve on the committee.

Rob McWhorter

Rob McWhorterETSU B.S. 1989. Served on committee since 1998, responsible for assembling the Vigil Flame Memorial. Former “Pride Marching Band” member; played “Taps” on trumpet at sundown for Vigil on occasion. Learned a lot over the past few years from all veterans participating in the program and has gained even more respect and admiration for all those who have served in our nation’s armed forces. Father-in-law, Larry Ratliff, Vietnam Veteran USAF Lt. Colonel (Retired).

Dennis Pepper

Dennis PepperI served in the U.S. Navy from July 1963 until March 1967. I have been a member of the American Legion for 21 years and Past Commander of the Bruce B. Williams American Legion Post #1 in Commerce, TX. I am currently serving as 1st Vice Command and Finance Officer for Post #1. This is my third year on the Veterans Vigil Committee and I am honored to serve.

Robyn Price

Robyn PriceI have served on the committee since 2003. I wanted to honor and serve our military personnel. My Great Grandfather (Robert Fussell) was in the Merchant Marine, Grandfather (Wayford Hollis) – Navy during the Korean War, and my cousin (Jonathan Hebert) was involved in the National Guard during War on Terrorism.

Dr. Buddy Gregg

Buddy GreggDr. Buddy Gregg joined the committee in 2016. Dr. Gregg is a longtime Commerce resident who graduated from then East Texas State University in 1964 and Texas A&M University with his CVM in 1974. He served in the United States Navy from 1964-1968, as a minesweeper from 1965-66, and then served on a guided missle frigate from 1967-68. Dr. Gregg established his own animal clinic from 1975 until he retired to farming in 2014.

Connie Mears

Connie MearsI proudly served as the chairperson 2000-2009. My family boasts of their service in the military. Both my mother (1955-1957) and father (1950-1957) were in the United States Army. They met in the Army and later married. My dad was injured during service and returned to the states as a disabled veteran (DAV). I had two uncles that served in the Merchant Marines.

Doug Hackett

Doug HackettI retired from the United States Navy. I have been a member of this committee since 2002. I direct the Swearing-In Ceremony of the new recruits. I also coordinate communication between L-3 and the Naval Recruiting District in Dallas.

David McKenna

David McKenna joined the Texas A&M University-Commerce staff in November 2002 and has served as Executive Director of Facilities and Support Services since 2007. He has worked on Veterans’ Vigil committees for the past four years helping coordinate site development, including setup for the display of the Vietnam Combat Veterans Memorial Moving Wall in 2006. David’s father served in the U.S. Army in WWII and his two older brothers served in the U.S. Navy and Army, respectively.

Rob Duncan

Rob DuncanIt is a great honor to serve on the Veterans Vigil Committee. I served in the United States Army from 1989-1992 and deployed for Desert Storm, as a member of the 2nd Armored Division and 1st Cavalry Division; and again from 2009-2014 with a deployment to Iraq, with the 1st Infantry Division. I decided to continue to serve by dedicating my time and study to veteran service. I am currently a Bachelor of Social Work candidate at A&M-Commerce and work in the Veterans and Military Services Office on campus.

Dr. Fred Fuentes

Dr. Fred FuentesDr. Fred Fuentes was the first in his family to graduate high school and has earned degrees and certificates from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, Texas A&M University-Commerce, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Fred is a former Director of Health Services, and a Global Health Fellow with Mercy Corps in Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. He served as the Lead Diversity & Inclusion Officer for USAID/GHFP-II in Washington DC before returning to the university in 2015 to serve as the Assistant Dean Hispanic Outreach. He is the coordinator of the Latino American Mentorship Program and is a proud United States Army Veteran!

Tymon Z. Kapelski

Tymon Z. KapelskiI served 8 years in the U.S. Army from 2003 to 2011; four years as a Field Artilleryman (13b) with a tour to Iraq (2005-2006), and four years as a Human Intelligence Collector (35m) with tours to Korea (2008-2009) and Afghanistan (2010-2011). After leaving the Army, I felt a need to continue to serve in some capacity and joined Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues so that I could serve in the community with veterans and civilians to help bridge that divide. I serve our schools veteran population through the Student Veterans Association and the Veterans Services Office and the Veterans Vigil board.

Gary Coe, Facilities, SSC

Gary Coe