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Columbia State coordinator awarded Chancellor's Commendation for Military Veterans
Daily Herald - 1/6/2021
Jan. 6—Bobby Toothaker, the Columbia State Community College Williamson Campus facility services coordinator and a U.S. Army veteran, has been awarded the state's inaugural Chancellor's Commendation for Military Veterans.
Toothaker was one of 35 Tennesseans to receive the commendation.
The Tennessee Board of Regents and Chancellor Flora W. Tydings established the new commendation as a system-level award to honor the service, bravery and sacrifices of military veterans in campus communities.
"Bobby helps make the environment for our students a better place," said Dearl Lampley, CSCC vice president for Williamson Campus and external services.
"As he makes his rounds on campus, he talks to people and builds relationships — especially with our veteran students. He uses his disarming art of conversation to draw veteran students into comradery, shows them where the Veteran Study Room is located and helps them connect to each other. He also encourages them to get involved in the Student Veteran Organization."
Toothaker has been a co-advisor for the SVO for the last four academic years. During his time working with the SVO, he helped students be able to attend Student Veterans of America NATCON events, suicide prevention events for emergency medical personnel and two Veteran History Project events with the Library of Congress.
"I was a student veteran myself so I understand the struggles that come along with that," Toothaker said. "I am honored to help people find their way and to let them know someone is there for them and understands where they are and what they are going through."
Before joining CSCC, Toothaker spent more than 11 years in the U.S. Army. He was a non-commissioned officer, providing both oversight and mentorship for young soldiers while serving in combat and intelligence deployments.
"I am honored to have served my country and to have the opportunity to serve Columbia State and student veterans in the capacity that I do," Toothaker said. "I am honored to be recognized for this award."
Toothaker was presented a special TBR Challenge Coin from Janet F. Smith, CSCC president, on behalf of the chancellor. Challenge coins are a rich tradition in all branches of the military and signify special achievement, excellence, hard work, unit pride, respect and esprit de corps.
"It was my honor today to recognize Bobby Toothaker for the work he does at Columbia State with our student body," Smith said.
"The individual that Columbia State recognizes is one that is recommended by faculty and staff. Bobby's recommendations talked about the time he gives to our students and our Student Veterans Organization. He represents the best of Columbia State."
Mike Christen is the multimedia editor for The Daily Herald. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MikeChristenCDH.
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