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Editorial: Gen. Via is a role model
Sunday, August 12, 2012
There are only 10 four-star generals in the Army. One of them is a native of Henry County.
Dennis L. Via was promoted to four-star general last week. The same day, he took over the helm of the Army Materiel Command in Alabama. The magnitude of that assignment is reflected in the facts that the AMC is responsible for one out of every six contracting dollars in the Department of Defense. It has more than 69,000 employees and a presence in all 50 states and 144 countries.
To say Dennis Via has come a long way is an understatement. He grew up in the Spencer-Preston area and graduated from George Washington Carver High School. He toyed with the idea of becoming a professional brick mason after high school, thinking he would not be able to go to college.
But he did go to college. He did painting jobs and got grants and scholarships to pay his way through Virginia State University and help support his mother after his father died. He took part in the VSU ROTC program, and embarked on a long, distinguished career in the Army.
Gen. Via should be held up as a role model for every student here who does not think college is an option or who cannot see a path to a brighter future. He obviously is a smart man who worked hard. Sure, there were coaches and mentors who helped him along the way, but there are people in the school systems, churches and throughout the community who are more than willing to do the same for young people who want to grow and succeed.
Will it be easy? No. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. Just remember the career of the four-star general who started out in Henry County.