The Neptune Festival invites you to celebrate excellence at Neptune's Final Toast in honor of our Hometown Heroes. Local heroes will be honored during Boardwalk Weekend at a Sunday breakfast by the sea.
If you would like to attend, please call the Neptune Festival office at (757) 498-0215 by September 21st for more information. $25.00/Adult, $15/Children under 12
Many of those who have chosen to live in our community have also chosen to make their professions in ways that provide valuable and critically needed services to all of us. They do this every day - quietly, efficiently and effectively. The Neptune Festival has established a program to recognize these organizations each year through representatives chosen by their organizations leaders.
They are the defenders of our community and our country, our soldiers and police officers, sailors and firefighters, marines, airmen, emergency medical service volunteers and coast guardsmen, and they are those who teach our children. What they do for us all is epic in the truest sense - they are our hometown heroes.
2019 HOMETOWN HEROES
Rachel K. Thompson
Virginia Beach Public Schools
Virginia Beach Department Of Emergency Medical Services
Captain Harold W. Hill
Virginia Beach Fire Department
Master Police Officer Elizabeth Roys
Virginia Beach Police Department
Chief Petty Officer Robert A. King
United States Navy
Seaman Jonathan Edmonston
United States Coast Guard
Specialist Elizabeth E. Schooley
United States Army
Rachel K. Thompson | Virginia Beach Public Schools
Rachel K. Thompson is our Virginia Beach School System Hometown Hero. Rachel is the 2020 Virginia Beach Teacher of the Year. She has taught Spanish in Virginia Beach schools for the last 15 years. A Princess Anne High School graduate, Rachel graduated summa cum laude from St. Louis University in Madrid, and received a Masters of Fine Arts in writing and translation from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. An avid traveler, she has led cultural immersion trips for students to Peru, Guatemala, Spain, and Costa Rica. She sponsors the Operation Smile Club, the Model United Nations, and the Gay Straight Alliance at Princess Anne High School. She is also a board member for the Seven Cities Writers program, offering writing workshops to under-served communities in Hampton Roads. She has been named Rookie Foreign Language Teacher of the Year, and has twice received the official recognition of Distinguished Educator. Rachel lives in Portsmouth with her husband and five year old son. Thank you for your dedication to the children of our city, Rachel.
Colette Gahr | Virginia Beach Department Of Emergency
Colette Gahr has served as an EMT with the David Corner Volunteer Rescue Squad since February of 2016. Collette works full time for the Virginia Beach Health Department in their WIC program, and her service as an EMT is completely voluntary. Day in and day out, Colette has dedicated her life to helping those in need. During her time with the Davis Corner Rescue Squad she has participated in numerous community directed programs and events, and serves on the organization’s Board of Directors. With her fellow team members, Colette is finding new ways for the station to become engaged and active in the community, and to better serve the citizens of Virginia Beach. She is truly dedicated, and exemplifies the title of Hometown Hero.
Captain Harold W. Hill | Virginia Beach Fire Department
At some point in every firefighter’s life there is a moment when he decides to give back to the community, to trade late nights and early morning calls for a nice, warm bed; when he hears the call to duty. This year’s Virginia Beach Fire Department Hometown Hero has gone beyond just hearing the call. The Virginia Beach Fire Department was founded on 4 principles: caring, honesty, integrity, and trust. Captain Harold W. Hill has gone above and beyond to embody these principles, and stands as an example for all firefighters. Captain Hill was instrumental in the success of the department’s Auto Aid Program, which coordinates with fire departments in Norfolk and Chesapeake to dispatch the closest unit to an emergency. Captain Hill also volunteers his time as an instructor for the Fire Explorers Program. During his 20 plus years of service, Captain Hill has built a career dedicated to serving others’ needs. Welcome, Captain Harold Hill, and thank you for your service.
Master Police Officer Elizabeth Roys | Virginia Beach
Master Police Officer Elizabeth Roys joined the Virginia Beach Police Department in 1996. She spent6 years in uniformed patrol before earning her position as a property crimes detective.From theproperty crimes division, she progressed to Robbery Detective and Homicide Detective, where she achieved an impressive 90% clearance rate . MPO Roys has received many recognitions during her career, including a Public Service Medal, Detective Bureau Excellence Award, 9 Letters of Recognition, and 20 Lettersof Appreciation. She is known for her compassion for victims and her willingness to help those in need. After responding to a Medical Alarm call at the residence of an elderly citizen, MPO Roys noticed that the woman’s yard was overgrown. She went back on her own time and mowed, edged, and swept the woman’s property.
On the afternoon of Friday, May 31, 2019, MPO Roys had just arrived at the 2nd Precinct for a special assignment. Upon learning of the active shooter situation, she headed to the Municipal Center to assist in any way she could. Because of her vast investigative experience, she wasassigned to a team of investigators and forensic technicians who tirelessly worked the crime scene in Building 2. Master Police Officer Roys is a hero in every sense of the word.
Chief Petty Officer Robert A. King | United States Navy
Representing the United States Navy today is Chief Petty officer Robert A. King .Petty officer Kings began his Navy career on the USS Iwo Jima in August of 2002, and performed well beyond expectations. He was advanced to ICC and continued to excel in the Interior Communication Division. While attached to the Iwo Jima, he was essentialduring the maiden deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Joint Task Force LiberiaOperations. During his navel service, he has earned both an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering Technology.
Petty officer King has earned six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and a Military Outstanding VolunteerService medal for exceptional community involvement.In 2017 he reported for duty on the USS Gerald R. Ford and made an immediate command impact as the Leading Petty Officer of 47 sailors for the Tactical Networks Division. As the Chief Petty Officer 365 Heritage Committee lead, he coordinated 526 Chief Petty officers and First Class Petty Officers for the Pearl Harbor Memorial and Capstone Event in 2017.
Petty officer King currently serves as First Class Petty Officer Association President, leading over 300 of his peers. He has been an essential part of numerous command programs and has dedicated over40 hours to Hampton Roads School support programs and area cleanup efforts. His dedication has earned him the recognition of Command Sailor of the Year for Fiscal Year 2019. Congratulations, Petty Officer King!
Seaman Jonathan Edmonston | United States Coast Guard
Seaman Jonathan Edmonston grew upin Anne Arundel County, Maryland, close to the Chesapeake Bay. This connection helped lead to his decision to join the Coast Guard. A member of the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in high school, Seaman Edmonston signedon to the Coast Guard while still in high school, and officially joined the Coast Guard in February of 2019. His first duty assignment was on the Coast Guard Cutter Flyingfish. Based at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, the Flyingfish is in charge of search and rescue missions, Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security, and Commercial and Recreational Boating Safety throughout the region and up to 200 miles offshore. Seaman Edmonston looks forward to attending Boatswain Mate A-School next year. Thank you, Seaman Edmonston, for your service in keeping out waterways safe and secure.
Specialist Elizabeth E. Schooley | United States Army
Specialist Elizabeth E. Schooley is our United States Navy Hometown Hero. Specialist Schooley is a native of Virginia Beach, where she serves in the Army National Guard. For 3 ½years, she has served as an enlisted Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, ensuring that all vehicles are properlymaintained and ready to deploy. Specialist Schooley was recently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, where she performed her duties in a commendable fashion. Her strong will and resilience iswhat placed her above her peers as she operated alongside a SupportMaintenance Company and civilian contractors to en sure that the mission was carried out safely and efficiently. Specialist Schooley is a Virginia Army National Guard soldier, dedicated to her country, and a true representative of a Hometown Hero.