Each year, the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation names its Distinguished Alumni based on academic achievement, career success and community involvement. Twelve alumni were chosen to be recognized as Distinguished Alumni this year, and were honored at a banquet in May. This year's recipients are:
P. Kenneth Copeland ('87)
Kenneth Copeland earned an associate degree in business administration from PHCC in 1987. He continued his education at Averett College, earning a bachelor of science in accounting, and at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), receiving a master in business administration. Copeland currently serves as the vice president of administration and finance at Longwood University in Farmville.
Copeland got his start in 1989 as an accountant for Michael O. Meeks & Associates in Rocky Mount. In 1997, he made the transition to economic development as the first branch manager and business analyst of the Longwood Small Business Development Center in Martinsville. Because of his success in this position, he was hired as director of economic development at Longwood in 1999. Recognizing his potential to benefit the university, they paid for his continued education at VCU. In 2004, Copeland was named as director of economic development and executive director of the Longwood Real Estate Foundation.
He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Virginia Society of CPAs and the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Collegiate Schools of Business.
Brenda Dunwoody ('94, '05)
Brenda Dunwoody graduated from PHCC with a paralegal certificate in 1994, and in 2005 she received an associate in legal assisting. During her time in school, Dunwoody was instrumental in starting the Student Paralegal Association. Currently she serves as a senior paralegal specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan.
Dunwoody’s husband joined the Army shortly after her graduation from PHCC, placing them in Germany, Korea, Afghanistan and stateside at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She was able to put her education to work even abroad, serving as a paralegal specialist at the Grafenwoehr Law Center in Germany; Chief at the VITA Tax Assistance Office in Bamberg, Germany; Chief at the Joint Multi-National Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany; and Senior Paralegal Specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Seoul, Korea.
Because of her work in combat zones in Afghanistan, Dunwoody has received several recognitions from the Army. She is currently working on a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Maryland. Her son is following in her footsteps, graduating from PHCC in May.
Pamela V. Foley ('78)
Pamela Foley graduated from PHCC in 1978 with an associate degree in secretarial science. Afterwards, she attained a certified professional secretary designation in 1983, graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge and became a destination specialist for Australia and the South Pacific. With this background, Foley currently serves as an incentive travel specialist at Martin Travel, LLC, in Martinsville, where she has been working since 2011.
After graduating from PHCC, Foley worked at Nationwide Homes, Inc. as the executive secretary to the president, senior vice president and vice president of production. She then began her career in the travel industry at Martinsville Travel, Inc. in 1988. In 1997 she was named president and general manager.
In addition to her long career in Martinsville, Foley is an active member of the community. She is currently on the Local Board at PHCC, the Board of Directors for the United Way of Henry County and Martinsville, and is a children’s worship teacher at Fort Trial Baptist Church. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Martinsville Uptown Association, is a past president of the Blue Ridge Chapter of Professional Secretaries International, served on the supervisory committee for the Martinsville Dupont Credit Union and was a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement.
Lee Anne Fuller ('00)
Lee Anne Fuller graduated from PHCC with an associate degree in general studies and a certificate in bookkeeping in 2000. She has been working as a court management analyst with the Supreme Court of Virginia since 2006.
Fuller got her start in the Martinsville Circuit Court as a certified deputy clerk from 1988-2004. She then became a clerk in the Danville Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in 2004 and shortly after made her way to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
She has always been an active member of the community, volunteering with the Big Brothers, Big Sister program; serving as a member of the Charity League of Martinsville-Henry County; and participating in three medical mission trips through the Friends of Barnabas Foundation. Fuller is quick to respond when she sees people in need. She once helped support a boy scout who did not have the funds to fully participate in all of the activities that were offered, and provided funds for a student to take part in the Martinsville Middle School trip to Washington, D.C. After her sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, she formed a team for the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure in Washington, D.C., raising more than $15,000 to contribute to the cause.
April Haynes ('94)
April Haynes received an associate in general studies from PHCC in 1994. She continued her education in the Teletechnet Distance Education Program offered by Old Dominion University, and received her bachelor of business management from Averett University in 2009. Haynes also participated in the nonprofit management program at Duke University. She is currently the director of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation.
Upon graduating from PHCC, Haynes began her career at Bassett Walker, Inc. as a specifications clerk, moving on to customer service representative positions at both Hathaway Paper Company and Tri-State Foam Products, Inc.
In addition to her position at the Martinsville Area Community Foundation, Haynes gives back to her community as a Charity League member, as the financial leader of the Community Fellowship church, and a past member of the Martinsville Henry County United Way Nonprofit Leaders Network Board of Governors and the United Way’s Community Investment Team. She has also been a part of the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Development Team.
Timothy D. Martin ('80)
Timothy Martin received his certificate in general business and an associate in business management from PHCC in 1980. He continued his education at Averett University, earning a bachelor of arts in business administration. Martin currently is the president of marketing and sales for Fred Martin Associates, and is an adjunct professor of business and management-related courses at PHCC.
In 1982, Martin joined the team at Fred Martin Associates and soon began efforts to revive Uptown Martinsville. He formed the Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association and served on its board for six years. He is currently the Chairman of the Martinsville City Planning and Zoning board, of which he is the first member to become a certified public planner. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
For his hard work in the community, Martin has been recognized numerous times, including a listing in "Who’s Who in America’s Junior and Community Colleges" (1980), a Citizen of the Year recognition (1997) and a Certificate of Appreciation in the O’Henry Work Experience Program through the Henry County Public Schools (2001).
Curtis R. Millner, Sr. ('00)
Curtis Millner is a 2000 graduate of PHCC, earning an associate degree in industrial technology. Prior to attending PHCC, Millner earned his associate and bachelor degrees from Columbia College in Columbia, Mo. At age 17, he entered the Army and retired 23 years later as Chief Warrant Officer.
After retiring, Millner devoted his time to his community, but maintained his connection to the Army by teaching Junior ROTC in the Henry County Public School system. He currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for the Fayette Area Historical Initiative, as the treasurer for the Smith River Missionary Baptist Association and as the assistant treasurer for the Virginia Baptist State Convention Deacon & Deaconess Auxiliary. He has served on numerous boards, including the Henry County School Board, of which he was chairman for three of his 11 years; the Piedmont Arts Association; Henry County Parks and Recreation; and the Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science and Technology, serving as chairman in 2012.
Millner has earned the Award of Distinction by the Virginia School Board Association School Board Academy, the Certificate of Achievement for completion of The Leadership Foundation and a Certificate of Graduation for completion of the Leadership Development Program sponsored by the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce.
Kimberly G. Phillips ('93)
Kimberly Phillips earned an associate in both education and general studies in 1993. She then attended Radford University where she received her bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies in 1995. Phillips has also taken graduate courses from University of Virginia, Radford University and University of Phoenix, to further her education. She is currently a Carver Elementary School teacher.
Phillips values the role she plays, and is devoted to the students she teaches, volunteering her time with numerous committees at school, including the Courtesy Committee, the Field Day Committee, the Yearbook Committee and the Child Study Committee. Each Christmas, she "adopts" the family of one of her students in need and provides clothes and toys to them. Phillips also devotes her time as a member of the Patrick Henry Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, American Cancer Society, Girl Scouts and First Presbyterian Church, where she serves on the Education Committee.
Bernadette J. Stowe ('93)
Bernadette J. Stowe received an associate in business administration from PHCC in 1993. She then continued her education at Radford University, earning a bachelor degree in business administration with a major in accounting. While at Radford, she also earned the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Senior across all majors in the College of Business and Economics. Currently she works for Southwestern Virginia Gas Company as the vice president of finance and human resources, and is also the assistant treasurer for C.T. Williams & Co., Inc.
Stowe began her career with Ford, Dickerson & Cobbe, CPAs, P.C., as a staff accountant. In 1997, she was hired by Southwestern Virginia Gas Company as a staff accountant and climbed the ranks to become vice president of finance and human resources in 2006.
Stowe is dedicated to her community, and is a founding member of the Community Recovery Program through Piedmont Community Services, which is dedicated to helping individuals through guidance and support on multiple levels of recovery. One of her greatest passions is the youth of the community. In 1997, she formed a youth group at her church to help instill in them the value of faith and community service and remains an integral part of the group.
Mark C. Stroud, Sr. ('95)
Mark Stroud graduated from PHCC with an associate in education and general studies in 1995. He currently serves as a councilman for the City of Martinsville.
Prior to attending PHCC, Stroud worked as a technician at National Exterminators, as a floor manager at Draper & Ferrell Clothiers and as an assistant foreman/machine operator at American Furniture. After earning his degree, Stroud began working with the Martinsville Sheriff’s Department. He became a general skill instructor with the local academy after several years with the department.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Piedmont Community Services and is on the Steering Committee for the Virginia Municipal League. Stroud has served on the Steering Committee for the Crisis Intervention Taskforce, and was recently appointed to the Planning Committee of the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services.
Jackie T. Thornton ('75)
Jackie Thornton earned an associate of liberal arts from PHCC in 1975. She then attended Virginia Commonwealth University, receiving a bachelor of science in business administration in 1977 and a master of science in 1978. She currently is the director of human resources for Triton Management in Alabama.
Thornton began her career with Pioneer Federal Savings Bank as a senior vice president of administrative services from 1986-1994. She continued her career, focusing on human resources, at Compass Bank (1997-1999), Giles Enterprises (1999-2006), and Kelly Aerospace (2006-2009). In 2005, she and her husband opened Dirt Road, LLC, a small USDA manufacturing plant based in Alabama, dedicated to the production of handmade frozen casseroles. In 2009 she was hired by Triton Management as the director of human resources.
Thornton currently serves on the Virginia Commonwealth University alumni board, is the chairman of the nominating committee of the Special Olympics of Virginia and is a member of the NFIB State of Alabama Human Resources Board.
LaDonna H. Varner ('92)
LaDonna Varner graduated from PHCC with an associate in liberal arts in 1992. She went on to earn a bachelor of arts in English from James Madison University in 1994, followed by a master of arts in teaching from Hollins University in 2008. Varner is currently a high school English teacher at Bassett High School, serving as the English Department chairperson, Advanced Placement lead teacher and Vertical Team Coordinator. She is also a dual enrollment instructor with PHCC and a Longwood University instructor with NCI.
She continues to add to her accomplishments, including a National Board Certification in Teaching in 2011. Her hard work does not go unnoticed. Varner has received the Academic Excellence Award, chosen by high-performing students in the Henry County Public Schools, for nine of the 11 years the award has been given.
In addition to her career in teaching, Varner volunteers her time to Harmony Hall in Bassett, a facility for residents with health, age or mental-related problems; and at her church where she is a youth leader, preschool teacher, Vacation Bible School director and chairperson for the Nurture Committee.