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Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families

Leadership

Maj. Gen. (Retired) Jeff HammondMajor General (Retired) Jeff Hammond is a Father first, once a Soldier and a University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Golden Eagle. He received his commission as an Army Officer upon graduation from USM in 1978 where he served as team captain for the football team.

Jeff earned a BS and M.Ed from USM along with a Master's Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies via the US Navy War College (while serving on Active Duty).  He places his greatest trust in Spiritual Faith, Family and caring for Our Service Members, Military Veterans, and their Families.

Jeff has been married to Diane (a USM Criminal Justice graduate) for 33-years and they have two children, Michael and Meagan (both graduates of Texas A&M University).

Michael McGeeMichael A. McGee was born and raised in Collins, MS. Michael is married to the former LaTonya M. Booth, his high school sweetheart, also of Collins, and they have 4 children. He enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his church family. He is an Army Retiree who served more than 23 years on active duty.

He currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Religion, with a Minor in Psychology. He considers himself a lifelong learner who is determined to complete his graduate level studies.

He is a man of faith who enjoys serving all people, and he has a special affinity to our veterans, military service members and their families.

David MagolaDavid Magola was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and is proud to be a Southern Miss graduate.

Although, he has not served in the Military himself, several of his family members have served. This makes David's duty of assisting our Veterans, Service Members and their Families extremely important to him.

David received degrees from Jones County Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi.

He enjoys helping people and finds serving Southern Miss as a VA Certifying Official very rewarding.

Aside from assisting our Veterans, Service Members and their Families, David enjoys spending time with his wife of five years, Heather, his two sons, Lucas and Eli, and his extended family and friends, as well as painting, writing music and attending church.


Mara Chitic-Holmes was born in Romania and moved to Germany where she completed two diplomas in Technical Engineering & Construction and Foreign Languages. The next destination was the Aloha State, Hawai’i, where she enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer with the U.S Army 25th Infantry Division 2nd Striker Brigade with several assignments.

Mara graduated with honors from The University of Southern Mississippi with a BA in Foreign Languages, German and Spanish, and a minor in Forensic Science.  She continues her educational pursuit as a graduate in the field of Criminal Justice. She has affiliations with The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, German Honor Society, Forensic Science Society and the Mississippi Division of The International Association for Identification.

Stacy HenleyStacy L. Henley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi and raised in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  Due to Hurricane Katrina she relocated to McHenry, Mississippi with her children Zach and Ryan.

After earning two degrees from Pearl River Community College, Stacy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park.

Stacy joined The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus staff in 1999 as a Financial Aid Clerk in the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs.  In 2004, Stacy transitioned to the Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Specialist and became responsible for certifying VA Educational Benefits for Gulf Park students.  Stacy serves with care, compassion and dedication the student veteran population on the Gulf Park Campus as their VA Specialist and most recently the staff advisor for the Coast Guard Auxiliary University Program.

Steven WelchMr. Steven Welch works for the Department of Veteran Affairs as a Nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program. The VR&E program’s mission is to assist Veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment, and/or live as independently as possible. Also, Mr. Welch works in conjunction with The Center of Military Veterans, Service Members and Families as the VetSuccess on Campus Counselor (VSOC) at the University of Southern Mississippi. The VSOC program aims to help Student/Veterans, Service Members and eligible Dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits along with counseling and guidance for preparation to enter the workforce in viable careers.

The VSOC program operates under the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) education and career counseling program, or Chapter 36 authority, administered by VA’s VR&E program. Chapter 36 benefits offer a wide range of educational and vocational counseling services to Veterans, Service Members and Dependents who are eligible for one of VA’s educational benefit programs. These services are designed to provide Student/Veterans with personalized counseling and support to help guide their career paths, ensure the most effective use of VA benefits, and achieve both educational and career goals. Services include but are not limited to:

  • Career Choice - understand the best career options based on your interests and capabilities
  • Benefits Coaching - guidance on the effective use of VA benefits and/or other resources to achieve education and career goals
  • Personalized Support - Academic or adjustment counseling and personalized support to help remove any barriers to success

For further information and to contact Steven please click here.

Teddy Reed serves as the Veteran’s Service Officer here on the Southern Miss campus. His assignment is to assist student and local community veterans/dependents in applying for available federal benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office.

Teddy was born and raised in Hattiesburg and has 30+ years in the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserves.  His is currently assigned to Coast Guard Marine Science Unit in Port Arthur, Texas as the Senior Reserve Officer.  He is a graduate of The University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s in Education and is an active member in the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Hattiesburg. 

He has had the privilege of being married to Eliza DeGraff Reed of Key West, FL for 30 years and has two daughters, Shelby Reed Winpigler (Southern Miss ’18) and Anna Reed, currently a sophomore at Jones College.

Contact Us

Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families
3503 Morningside Drive
Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Hattiesburg Campus

Campus Map

Email
VAFREEMississippi

Phone
601.264.4629

Contact Us

Hardy Hall 235
730 East Beach Boulevard
Long Beach, MS 39560

Gulf Park Campus

Campus Map

Email
VAFREEMississippi

Phone
228.214.3244