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Chapter Leaders Meet and Greet blog
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Posted at 7:06 PM by D.W. Heiser | Category:
Chapter Leaders Meet and Greet
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Kansas City Chapter Leader
Allen Lichtenwalner suggested that all of the Chapter Leaders start talking among ourselves to get to know each other and share ideas. David Heiser helped us out by setting up this blog. Thanks to David for the work involved! My name is Brian Smith and I am located at the Kansas City campus. I was very happy to see this new organization stand up and wanted to get involved in it from its inception. I have been in the military for over 33 years now, with most of my time spent in the Army Reserves. I initially joined the Marine Corps and spent 4 years on active duty as a ground radio repairman. After getting out of the Corps I moved to Oklahoma looking for work, but ended up going to school instead. I joined the Army Reserve at that point since there were no Marine Reserve units in the area. I was a Drill Sergeant for four years in that unit and after moving back to Missouri after college, I joined a Civil Affairs unit. I served in Desert Storm and did a couple of tours of duty in Guantanamo Bay. I retired from the Reserves for a couple of years but was talked back into rejoining my old Civil Affairs unit just prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center. I was called to active duty for 16 months and served a year of that time in Tikrit, Iraq. Currently, I am in the Individual Ready Reserve attached to the 5150th Special Marksmanship Unit. I have learned a lot about what it means to deploy and the issues that occur prior to, during, and after deployments. I think this organization can do a lot for service members and their families during those trying times and I look forward to being an active member. I look forward to hearing from the rest of the Chapter Leaders in this blog very soon.
Brian W. Smith at
1/12/2009 10:49 AM
South Carolina Chapter Leader - John Gray
I spent four years active duty in the United States Marine Corps infantry from 1992 - 1996. I am currently a Supervisory Revenue Officer in Greenville, SC and look forward to contributing to MOS-IRS.
John Gray at
1/13/2009 8:16 AM
Rochester Minnesota Chapter Leader - Darleen Christianson
Good day to all. I am a thirteen year veteran of the United States Navy. I ended up with a medical discharge after I broke my wrist. I am currently an Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist with W&I. I am also a certified Ombudsman. For those of you who are not aware of what an Ombudsman is, it is a liaison between the families of deployed troops and the branch that their loved ones serve. If there are any issues (fiancial/repairs/just help for the afternoon) I am the one that coordinates the aid and puts the family in connection with the people that are trained to help in those areas. I am also a dependent of a Builder Chief Petty Officer of the Naval Reserves. We have gone through one deployment to Afghanistan from 2005 until 2006, which was a rough one, but we made it through. Thankfully he is retireing this year with twenty two years. I have all sorts of resources for veterans and their families, so if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask them. I look forward to working with all of you and getting this organization up and running.
Darleen M. Christianson at
1/13/2009 12:49 PM
Fresno (Central) California Chapter Leader - Jacque Johnson
Hello all - I too am a veteran from the Navy. I served 5 years near the end of the vietnam war. As it goes, I completed boot camp the day Saigon fell, so I did not have to serve in Vietnam. I completed Signalman A school, and could not advance in my rate since I could not board any ships and practice my rate. So off to my first tour in Atsugi NAB Japan. I did numerous things there since I was one of the first women to be there and I wasn't a Corpman, Yoeman, or anything of the like. So I was put into the library and assisted all the nice sailors in their reading material. After 6 months I was then placed in Special Services where I handed out camping gear, ski gear and any other recreational equipment you could think of. After voicing my dislike for this and I decided I did not want to be a signalman any more, I started studying to cross rate into Radioman. I was then placed in the career councelors office where I then became the passport/visa liason and assisted parents with obtaining the necessary paperwork so they could claim their babies as Americans. After becoming a Radioman 3rd class I then became the Admirals Driver. I left Atsugi in 1976 and was then stationed at Bangor Submarine Base, Washington. I really fell in love with the state and vowed to go back. While there I decided I wanted to start a family and had my daughter who was born in 1979. I was then discharged shortly after her birth and I came home to Kerman, California. A small farming community 45 miles west of Fresno. I went back to school and was a Business Major, then I went to work at a local drug store. I applied for the manager's program and was denied because I was a woman. I did not like that answer, so when the call came for seasonal employees at the IRS, I signed up and was hired as a GS-2 Data Transcriber. I worked one season and applied for a permanent posistion at the VA Hospital as a medical transcriber. I then applied as pharmacy technician where I attempted to go to pharmacy school, but because I had become a single mother, I knew it would be difficult and I choose to become a cosmotologist. I walked away from my 8 years of Government work to try to be self employeed. What a bad idea that was, not to say I wasn't good at cutting hair, at the time I was just not motivated enough to start a business with a 4 year old. So when the IRS called out for seasonal employees, I headed the call and returned to government. I was able to start as a GS-3 Data transcriber and then quickly moved up into a Seasonal GS-4 Lead Data Trascriber. My first season back I applied for the Manager's Cadre and was accepted. I was a temp manager for 10 years and my position was then being re-directed to Ogden. I had to find another job. My daughter came to me and asked if we could move to Washington so she could prepare for Vetenary school and she wanted to be able to get into one of the best in country. I started applying for positions and was picked up in Seattle, WA as a Permanent GS-7 Telephone Assistor in ACS. On December 31, 1995, with the help of my father and brother, my daughter and I moved to Seattle where she completed high school & I remarried. She applied for all colleges in Washington and Fresno State, and just my luck she was accepted at Fresno State. So in 1997 she moved back to California and I stayed behind with my new husband who also works for the IRS. That same year I was picked up in Facilities as a Security Assitant and have been with REFM since. I am now a GS-11 Project Manager & I love my job. In 1998 I was diagnoised with Diabetes, which I have learned to live with well. In 2004 my husband was diagnoised with MS, which has proven to be challanging. In a very short period of time he has gone from a vibrant man to a person in a wheel chair and depends on me to do a lot for him. In 2005 my daughter married a great guy and in 2006 Emmy was born. The day my daughter was told she was pregnat I was told I had breast cancer. I have been clear of cancer now for 3 years and I have not looked back. I did however look at my life and knew that with the deteriation of my husbands health, I knew I was going to need help. So we moved back to Fresno, where I have been for the past year. It has been a crazy journey, but a journey I would not trade. I am so happy that this organization is here and when I was asked to join by a new friend here in Fresno, I knew I was at home. I am so looking forward to getting this chapter rolling, then I will be ready to retire, knowing I acomplished so much in my career. Looking forward to learning from you all.
Jacque M. Johnson at
1/16/2009 12:09 AM
Dallas Chapter Leader - Darryl Parker
Hello everyone, I am glad to be part of a worthy initiative. I am retired AF (20 and a wake-up). I have been with the service for 4 years; lets just say the organizational culture here is a little different from what i am use to :-)
Darryl A. Parker at
1/20/2009 3:39 PM
Columbus, OH Chapter Lead - Courtney Popenberg
I'm glad to see so many Navy Vets around. I served four years with NMCB Seven in Gulfport, MS as a Personnel Specialist (2002-2006). I've been to Kuwait, Iraq, and Guam. Right now I am a secretary in LMSB and working my way to a degree in Social Work. I am in the IRR currently, but as soon as I get my degree I want to switch over to the reserves, maybe there will be a direct commission option :) Who knows.
Courtney M. Popenberg at
1/26/2009 1:46 PM
New Haven, CT Chapter Lead - Jeremy Tendler
Well it looks like I'm the only grunt here so far! I served 6 years in the Army from 1999 - 2005. I spent my career as an enlisted infantryman traversing the globe from one deployment to another. I spent time in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asia. I currently work in CI as a Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant, but am going to school at night to obtain my Bachelor's degree in accounting. Once my degree is finished I hope to come on board as a Special Agent.
I am 31, married and with a 10 month old son. I am very involved with Veteran's issues and serve as the Adjutant for DAV Chapter 11 here in Connecticut.
Jeremy Tendler at
1/29/2009 1:11 PM