Hometown Heroes: Neptune’s Final Toast

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October 1st, 2017
9:00 am - 11:00 am

Hilton 31
Ocean Ballroom


Beach Ford

2016 Hometown Heroes

Staff Sergeant Christopher B. Clark
United States Marine Corps

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling)Third Class Amber Marie Green
United States Navy

Boatswain's Mate Second Class
Jeremy Chatterton
United States Coast Guard

Airman First Class
Joshua Daniel McAnnally

United States Air Force

Ms. Jenna Free
Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Captain Ray Irizarry
Virginia Beach Fire Department

Officer James L. Edwards
Virginia Beach Police Department

Emergency Medical Technician
Derek Fuller

Virginia Beach Department of EMS

2016 Guest Speaker Jay LeachJay Leach

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.

Staff Sergeant Christopher B. Clark, United States Marine Corps

Staff Sergeant Clark has been a United States Marine for nine years and is currently an instructor at the Marine Corps Security Force Training Company in Chesapeake. A native of San Jose, California, Staff Sergeant Clark and his family moved to central Virginia when he was six. After graduating from high school, he applied to the U.S. Coast Guard. Denied an enlistment there, he then tried the Navy and was once again turned down. He ultimately enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman with orders to Security Force Training. His tours include Naval Station, Kings Bay, Georgia. In 2010 he transferred to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. With his unit, he deployed to Marjah, Afghanistan in 2011. Re-enlisting in the Corps, he changed occupations, becoming an Information Technology Specialist and receiving an assignment to Marine Corps Air Station, New River, in North Carolina. At the request of the Corps, he received a follow-on assignment back to Security Forces, where he presently serves as a Combat Weapons Instructor. He lives in Chesapeake with his wife Nichole and children Brendan, Bryson, Tori, and Taylor.

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Third Class Amber Marie Green, United States Navy

Petty Office Green enlisted in the Navy on April 19, 2010. Following Recruit Training in Great Lakes, Illinois, she was then sent to Pensacola, Florida for training as an Aviation Boatswain's Mate. Upon completing technical training, she was assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), serving as the Air Department Yeoman from December 2010 until December 2012. She transferred from the Roosevelt to Naval Air Station Oceana where she serves as the assistant to the Command Master Chief Petty Officer. She is married to William Green, Jr. and they have three children - Nevaeh Green (aged 10), William Green III (aged 8) and Skylar Green (6 months).

Boatswain's Mate Second Class Jeremy Chatterton, United States Coast Guard

Petty Officer Second Class Chatterton is a native of Lexington, Virginia and was raised in both Texas and North Carolina. He entered the Coast Guard in 2010 and was first assigned to Coast Guard Station, Apra Harbor, Guam. After his service on Guam he was assigned to Port Security Unit 305 in Fort Eustis, Virginia prior to being transferred to Little Creek. Petty Officer Chatterton is assigned to the Deck Department of Coast Guard Station Little Creek, where he serves as the Section Leader and is directly responsible for a duty section of sixteen persons. He is also a Tactics Trainer, Law Enforcement Instructor and Assistant Rescue and Survival Petty Officer. He is married to Coast Guard Warrant Officer Carrie Chatterton and they have two children.

Airman First Class Joshua Daniel McAnnally, United States Air Force

Airman McAnnally is a native of Fairhope, Alabama and graduated from Auburn University in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering. After working for several years as a Construction and Environmental Engineer, he relocated to Virginia Beach and joined the Air Force, where he currently serves with the 203rd RED HORSE squadron. The RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) is a Virginia Air National Guard squadron that provides heavy engineering support to military and civil operations domestically and overseas. Airman McAnnally and his wife presently live in Virginia Beach.

Ms. Jenna Free, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Ms. Free is an English teacher and Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow instructor at Tallwood High School, and is the 2017 VBCPS Citywide Teacher of the Year. She has been a teacher for nine years, eight of which have been at Tallwood. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in AdolescentYoung Adult Integrated Language Arts Education and a Master's Degree in Cultural Studies, both from Ohio University. In addition to her work as an English and VTIT teacher, Jenna devotes time to advise the school's leadership workshop, Educators Rising program and Poetry Out Loud Committee. She serves on multiple school committees and divisional curriculum committees, mentors and is a VBCPS Design Fellow.

Captain Ray Irizarry, Virginia Beach Fire Department

Captain Irizarry began his career with the VBFD in 1988, and has worked many busy stations in the city system, where his impeccable work ethic, love for the job and sense of humor left a powerful impact on everyone he encountered. Ray is a passionate, dedicated firefighter who possesses an extraordinary devotion to his job, deeply rooted compassion for humanity and a true desire to serve. He has seen duties as a Search Manager and Canine Coordinator for Virginia Task Force 2, has been deployed to assist in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, the Haiti earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Joaquin. His stellar career led to his selection in 2015 as the Virginia Beach Firefighter of the Year.

Officer James L. Edwards, Virginia Beach Police Department

Officer Edwards was born in Portsmouth to a military family and graduated from Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, lettering in three sports. He enrolled in Old Dominion University and tried out for the newly formed ODU Football team. He was part of the 2008 - 2010 team, known for having the Best First Year record in FCS history. Following graduation he joined the Virginia Beach Police Department and quickly established himself as an out-of-the-ordinary officer, earning accolades for saving a heart attack victim, actively engaging troubled youth and being an active participant in community relations events. Professionally, he because part of the Citizen Advisory Committee, selected to join the SWAT team and an instructor in general, defensive, firearm and Fair and Impartial policing. While pursuing a graduate degree in Critical Incident Management, he is a featured speaker to ODU sports teams, Men of Faith gatherings, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Emergency Medical Technician Derek Fuller, Virginia Beach Department of EMS

Mr. Fuller has been a Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the City of Virginia Beach since 2010, and is presently assigned to Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Rescue Station 5. As an EMT, he has also earned instructor credentials in Basic Life Support and CPR. In addition to his work with Station, Mr. Fuller voluntarily teaches at Kellam and Salem High Schools, developing all of the teaching materials for the EMS courses taught there. Mr. Fuller is further very active in the EMS effort in Volunteer Recruitment and Retention, and is enrolled at Tidewater Community College, studying Social Science and Paramedic Certification. Beginning as a volunteer with the city's Library program, he has since joined them as a professional staff member, and is actrive with Explorer Post 800.

2016 Guest Speaker

Jay Leach

When Jay was 15, a rescue squad volunteer responding to an emergency call left a lasting impression with him, and enabled Jay’s father to survive a crisis. Though his father soon passed away, the difference a volunteer made for his family inspired Jay to find a way to give back.

Within a year, Jay found himself in front of two uniformed volunteers at the local swimming pool, telling them he wanted to do something with the rescue squad. Too young to join this squad, he continued to pursue an opportunity.

His path to Rescue 14 began with a stint with a volunteer fire department, which was able to put him to work as a 16-year old. At the age of 21, he began working with VBVRS.

Today, Jay is a teacher, coach and father. He credits his work with the rescue squad for teaching him how to deal with adversity, and understanding human behavior. He shares his experiences with students in his government class as a living example of citizenship, and provides insight into the social needs of the community. His students have come along on rides, and some are now volunteers themselves.

For Jay, being a rescue squad volunteer means showing his students and his own children that doing the right thing, and being a responsible citizen of a democracy, is possible and expected.

The satisfaction Jay experiences with the squad comes in many different forms. From making a difference for an elderly woman, to being part of an effort to coordinate ambulance service for injured soldiers returning to the U.S., to bringing a baby into the world, the rewards are many. Yet, for Jay, one of the most striking realities of being part of sobering, life-jarring situations, is that he’s left with great appreciation for what he has