Marine to speak at annual breakfast

By Adam Kelly | The Duquesne Duke

This upcoming Monday, Major Gen. T.S. Jones, a decorated Marine veteran, will be visiting Duquesne on behalf of the Veteran’s Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania.

Jones will be the keynote speaker of the 15th annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast in the Union Ballroom.

Jones is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and has held senior staff positions at Headquarters Marine Corps and the Pentagon, according to the veteran’s leadership director of development and community relations Michele Q. Margittai.

While the breakfast is for the veterans, all students are welcomed and encouraged to attend a free question-and-answer storytelling session from the veterans at 10 a.m. This is when Jones will speak about his experiences and what he is doing in Pittsburgh.

The theme of this year’s breakfast is “Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Pittsburgh: A Place for Veterans,” Margittai said.

Jones has held a handful of positions of importance in the Marines, including platoon commander, infantry commander and tactics instructor.

Locally, he founded Outdoor Odyssey, a non-profit youth academy in the Laurel Highlands. The academy was founded in 1998 and is focused on impacting youth through team building exercises and mentoring.

Jones officially retired from the Marine Corps in 2005 as a Major General, according to Margittai.

Currently, Jones serves as an adjunct research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analysis in conjunction with his continued role as executive director of Outdoor Odyssey. Jones also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial assistance to wounded marines.

At the breakfast, Jones will be reflecting on his life in the military, including the transition from military to civilian life, as well as what is being done to make Pittsburgh a good place for veterans.

Junior nursing major Amanda Watts, who is helping to organize the event, said there will also be Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II veterans in attendance who will share their experiences.

“Unfortunately, there are not many World War II veterans left,” Watts said. “To hear their experience is pretty cool.”

Watts has plans to work for the Wounded Warrior Project to help veterans who are suffering from mental health issues.

Fourth-year physician assistant major Marry Henningsgaard, who is also helping to organize the breakfast, is helping to sell T-shirts and tank tops promoting the event, which cost $12 and $20 respectively.

Henningsgaard said the breakfast is a casual storytelling event in which the microphone is passed around to different veterans. The veterans will tell the audience inspiring stories, both serious and funny in nature.

“There are these awesome people you would consider American heroes that are so close to home,” Henningsgaard said. “We are involved with so many people that have done so much and I think it’s really cool that we get to hear the stories straight from the source.”