City, Travel, Town, Explore, Master Diver, US Army

A Master of His Craft

Master Diver
Julius Green, Jr., Chief Warrant Officer 3, First African American Master Diver in the US Army. (photo courtesy of US Army, 1962)

Acheiving the impossible during a time when opportunties for African American soliders were too few.  Julius Green, Jr., Chief Warrant Officer 3, Retired after serving twenty-three years of active duty in the US Army.  Mr. Green was the first African American to  become a Master Diver  in the history of the Army and the second in US Military history.

Mr. Green shares his experiences and knowledge of the military and what it takes to become a diver  as he lectures at various private and public events.

“It was hard, but not impossible,” said Green. “You have to overcome a lot of obstacles and always remember the mission.”

Mr. Green is also a member of the Men’s Breakfast Club that meets every week to discuss issues in the community with other members and city officials. The Men’s Breakfast Club award yearly scholarships to deserving high school graduates in the area.

“He always gives a lot of himself to educate and mentor young men in the community,” said Mr. Bryant, another member of the Breakfast Club.


City, Travel, Town, Explore, Military, Navy, retirement, Suffolk

Life after Military Service


This piece is a follow-up on Twenty Two Years of Service discussed on February 18, 2018.   (photo courtesy of the Norfolk Naval Base)

Norfolk- Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Bryant works in his new position as Senior Logistics Manager as a civilian. Since retirement, he has taken a month off to spend time with family and friends while acclimating back to civilian life.

“The transition from military to civilian life was not difficult for me,” said Mr. Bryant.” I was thankful to find employment in the same field as my military job.”

While military life is very structured and discipline, some men, and women may find the transition to be somewhat difficult after discharge from the service.

The military understands the challenges veterans may face in returning to civilian life and the workforce.

The Armed Forces developed a Transition Assistance Program Workshop (TAP) for all members of the service that are due to discharge within 180 days of separation. The three-day workshop offers assistance with job searches, resumes, and financial services if needed.

“My husband had a smooth transition and was prepared for retirement,” said Laura Bryant. He was on shore duty for the last two years of active duty that allowed his work schedule to be nine to five. So the children and I had become accustomed to having him home.”

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs offers all men and women of the Armed Services transition assistance. For more information contact your local VA Office for services that you may be entitled to.


City, Travel, Town, Explore, Singing, Vocal Coach, Vocal Training

Training Singers to Reach full Vocal Performance

Inspired to sing?

Reaching your vocal potential will take dedication and training. For some are born with amazing natural talent and with others, it has to be developed. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful gift to have and use.

Mrs. Karen Vaughan-Palmer has been teaching music and vocal training for twenty-eight years. She is currently the Music Teacher and Chorus Director at Bethel High School in Hampton, Virginia. During her summer break from school and if her schedule permits, she offers private vocal training.

“The most gratifying aspect of working with singers is training them to produce a pleasing performance,” said Vaughan-Palmer.

When asked what was the most difficult obstacle in vocal training, she replied, “Tone deafness and lack of Vocal apparatus and ability is the most challenging thing.”

“Everyone that has a speaking voice can also be trained to find their singing voice which is usually at a level higher,” said Vaughan-Palmer. “But, the quality may be challenging for some students.”

Mrs. Vaughan-Palmer starts all of her students with breathing exercises to help expand the diaphragm and warm up the vocal cords to lessen vocal strain and injury. Learning proper vocal technique requires consistency in training your vocal cords and muscles.

Taking care of your vocal cords or vocal health is another topic that a singer in training needs to know about. There are do’s and don’ts for taking care of hoarseness and vocal loss.

Drink water, plenty of it

Get lots of rest

Lozenges are very helpful


Drink Tea

Drink Coffee

Drink Alcohol before singing it will cause dehydration

Milk or cream before singing it will cause mucous build up

Mrs. Vaughan-Palmer suggests that once a singer starts vocal training to continue with it, not to take breaks because the purpose is to advance the voice and not lose the vocal ability.

For more information on Vocal Training, contact Mrs. Vaughan-Palmer at

After School Program, City of Newport News, City, Travel, Town, Explore, Community Center, Kids, Newport News, Recreation Programs

Doris “Dorie” Miller Community Center, a Place for Everyone

                                Mr. Shaun Stith, Recreation Program Director

Formally named the World War II Recreation Center, but in 1948 a rededication ceremony was held to change the name to the Doris “Dorie” Miller Community Center.

The hero behind the name was Petty Officer Doris Miller stationed on the USS West Virginia was one of the ship’s mess cooks and shoe shiner. The vessel received a barrage of gunfire from the Japanese planes during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Petty Officer Miller grew up and was a former football player from Waco, Texas. He became a champion boxer for the navy, well known for his strength and did not hesitate to bring his injured captain and shipmates out of the line of fire during the attack.

Because of the color of his skin, Miller never received training using the ship’s weapons but that did not stop him from shooting down four Japanese planes on December 7, 1941. Because of his bravery, he was the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross for Gallantry during combat and among the first Heroes of World War II.

The City of Newport News adopted Petty Officer Miller as their son of war too because of his training at the Norfolk Naval Air Base. Naming the Community Center after Miller was a great honor for the city to bestow on the building.

Today, the Doris Miller Community Center is still honoring the soldier and serving the neighborhood and the City of Newport News.

The Center has specific time allotments for the different age groups that participate in the scheduled activities.

Mr. Shaun Stith, the Recreation Program Coordinator explains the activities that are scheduled daily for each age group and the requirements for participation.

When asked what were the requirements for participation, Mr. Stith stated, “homework, all homework must be completed and check by a tutor or volunteer parent first.”

“The after-school program provides tutoring for all students regardless of age,” Mr. Stith replied. “Success in school is the number one priority here at the Center.”

For more information on the Community Center Activities, contact Mr. Shaun Stith at (757) 247-8603.
Continue reading “Doris “Dorie” Miller Community Center, a Place for Everyone”

City of Newport News, City, Travel, Town, Explore, Kids Run for Fun, One City Marathon

Kids Run for Nautical Mile Event

Kids Run for Fun in the One City Marathon

The City of Newport News held the fourth Annual One City Marathon on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in conjunction with the 26.2 miles Marathon, Marathon Relay, Maritime 8k, and The Nautical Mile Fun Run.

There were different registration fees for each event with some of the proceeds going to pre-selected charities. Each child received a white tee shirt for the run in the Nautical Mile Run.

Children of all ages from different regions of the peninsula participated in The Nautical Mile Fun Run as crowds of onlookers and parents cheered them to the finish line to receive their medals with orange ribbon.

Some of the runners were creative with their outfits such as blue cheerleader shakers for hair, a tall pink hat with a fairy outfit and not to forget the dinosaur costume.

Newport News Shipbuilding, a Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, with Flat-Out Events presented this year’s event. A long list of local area Businesses and Restaurants helped in sponsoring and making this event a fun family day for all.

“This year is slightly warmer than the previous years,” said Dee from Flat-Out Events.

The One City Marathon event will support two local charities this year that assists residents of the community.

Thrive Peninsula is a 501c-3 organization that receives funds to prevent residents from hunger, homelessness, and assist with monthly utilities, such as heat and water. Local community groups and churches use Thrive as a central resource for funding.

The second recipient this year is Versability Resources previously know as The Arc of the Virginia Peninsula has served the disabled for over 60 years. Proceeds will assist with Day Support, Community Living, and Employment Programs for the disable of all ages.

More information on volunteering or participating in next years event contact either City of Newport News or Flat-Out Events by email at MARATHON@NNVA.GOV and RACETEAM@FLATOUTEVENTS.COM.

Bullying, Parents Against Bullying


The Parents against Bullying or P.A.B. organization held its fifth Annual Youth Step Show Competition. Students from Northern Virginia, Richmond, the Tidewater area and as far away as North Carolina came to Hampton University to take part in this event.

Ms. Shant’a Miller is the Founder and CEO of the organization who is active in the community as well as the school systems to offer support for children who have been victims of bullying. Ms. Miller’s decision to start a Virginia Chapter of P.A.B. came after her eleven-year-old daughter viciously attacked after school one day that left her with a prolonged medical issue.

Each year students come together to not only show their talents but support for each other. At the end of the competition first, second, and third place winners will receive a trophy. Best Theme for a Step Group will receive a plaque of recognition.

Stepping or Step dancing is a mix of choreography, music, added theater, with origins from the African culture.

Some of the costumes that different groups wore were vampires, the wolf, and three little pigs. There were costumes of various colors of pinks, greens, tans, and black with each group unique and talented.

The audience consisted of parents, teachers, and neighbors who came out to support each group and cheer them on. The Williamsburg Police Department had representatives in attendance along with local WTKR-TV anchor Jessica Larche as one of the judges for the competition.

Participation in the Youth Step Show not only brings the groups together by teamwork but accomplishments and pride in their performances. From the younger children to the teenagers it was clear the dedication and discipline that it took to perform at the level each one did.

Ms. Miller’s commitment to bringing awareness of bullying and the effects that it has on children has prompted several organizations and retail merchants to aid in sponsoring different events.

For more information on Parents against Bullying P.A.B. visit the website, or contact Ms. Miller through her email at

Continue reading “STOMP OUT THE BULLYING”

City, Travel, Town, Explore, Military

Twenty-Two Years of Service

DSC_0069.jpgChief Petty Officer receives flag during Retirement Ceremony.

A Retirement Service for the men and women of the United States Military is an honorable last performance of Duty and well deserved.

Naval Retirement Ceremony has a long-standing tradition of presenting the Retiree with a Shadow Box. It incorporates all of the service member’s accomplishments, displayed with Medals, Ribbons, and Insignia well-earned throughout the Retiree’s years of service. In the center of the Shadow Box is a replica of the American Flag folded into triangles as a remembrance of the commitment to the country that it represents.

For twenty-two years, this Chief Petty Officer has “Stood Watch” for his shipmates and now his tour of service has ended. Standing Watch has a significant two-fold meaning in the military. On the sea, it means to maintain a safe and secure ship and on land to keep your fellow sailors safe with the same high standards. He has officially retired and transitioning from military to civilian.

When asked what he will miss the most about the Navy he replied, “The comrade of my fellow sailors.”

During the ceremony, the Flag was prepared for presentation. As it was folded in the traditional triangles and handed off to the Flag Presenters that were standing one behind the other for the salute and passing to the next in line. The last Presenter then saluted and passed “Old Glory” to the Company Commander. The final pass was from the Company Commander to the Chief Petty Officer.

The final part of the Ceremony, Chief Petty Officer requested permission from the Company Commander to go ashore. Permission granted, the Bell Ringer rings the bell twice with the Retiree giving the final salute to his shipmates and the last piping of side is given.

The Ceremony ends with the Chief Petty Officer walking the red carpet symbolizing leaving the ship for the last time as military and transitioning to civilian life.


City, Travel, Town, Explore, Health, Massages

Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Gloria Henderson owner of Soulful Journey Massage Boutique

The practice of Massage Therapy has been around for over 4,000 years. The Chinese and Egyptian cultures were the first to use it as a natural healing method for medical purposes. The techniques used in early history have evolved into preventive health measures today.

Men, women, young and older are taking proactive measures to maintain a state of good health by regularly scheduled massage sessions. There are varieties of reasons to use massage therapy, from stress relief to neck to back pain.

In the case of an injury to the muscles or joints, having regular sessions with a Registered Massage Therapist will be beneficial to the client in maintaining a pain-free living.

Soulful Journey LLC, owned and operated by Gloria Henderson, a local Massage Therapy Center that offers a Holistic approach to Health.

“Muscle tightness, neck strain, and back pain are the number one reasons that clients schedule appointments,” said Gloria Henderson. “The one-hour session of relaxing is beneficial to the body for healing. But I do explain to new clients to seek their Doctor’s advice if there are pre-existing conditions that massage therapy would be detrimental to the recovery process.”

The Mayo Clinic a renowned medical practice and research group in Minnesota gives its approval of Massage Therapy as a vital part of health and wellness.

“Relieving stress, improving circulation, reducing feelings of anxiety, and assisting with back pain relief are some of the beneficial reasons for therapy,” Henderson explained.

Henderson discussed another technique called Ionic Foot Detox used in the removal of toxins and metals in the body through the pores in the feet.

“During the thirty-minute session the client’s feet are soaked in an ironized solution resulting in discoloration of the water,” said Henderson. “The color of the water represents an area of the body where toxins were removed. For example, if the water turned a greenish color then toxins were removed from the liver and any joints that are arthritic.”

For more information on Ionic Foot Detox, Massage Therapy or to book an appointment, visit Soulful Journey’s website at

You can reach Gloria Henderson at (757) 806-6808 EST.

City, Travel, Town, Explore, Fort Monroe, Slavery, History, History

The “Contraband Camps” of Point Comfort

The “Contraband Camps” of Point Comfort

Main Gate built in 1820, the first construction of Freedom’s Fortress known as Fort Monroe (Photo/Toni Bryant)

On May 23, 1861, Frank Baker, James Townsend, and Sheppard Mallory, three escaped slaves from Norfolk, Virginia sought freedom from the Union Army. The three slaves walked through the Main gate of Point Comfort where Major General Benjamin Butler declared them “contraband of war.”Defying 1850 Fugitive Slave Act set in place General Butler refused to send the freedom seekers back to their owners but declared them properties of war.

As months went by, thousands of freedom seekers or enslaved men, women, and children would come through the gate that was renamed “Freedom’s Fortress.” As General Butler accepted them the first of many “Contraband Camps” were developed.

General Butler allowed the slaves to build their homes within the camp out of materials found from buildings destroyed by a previous fire.

Homes built by Slaves. Courtesy of Contraband Camp Exhibit. (Photo/Toni Bryant)

His decision was a foreshadowing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the ratification of the 13th Amendment and in 1865 the abolishment of slavery in the United States.

Completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was the largest stone fort built in the United States; the location was vital to defend the coastal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Fort Monroe was declassified as a military installation and designated as a National Monument by then President Obama on November 1, 2011.

Main Gate built in 1820, first construction of Freedom’s Fortress known as Fort Monroe (Photo/Toni Bryant)

As the country acknowledges February as Black History Month, the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe/Point Comfort opened an exhibit in remembrance of the “Contraband Camps” built by the freedom seekers.

Once known as Point Comfort now declared a National Park with over 400 hundred years of history, free to the public and opened all year.

The museum offers walking tours all year round. Park Rangers are only available to serve as a guide during May through September by reservation with groups of 10 in attendance.

At any time an individual is welcomed to walk the tour, take pictures and enjoy the base at their leisure. The Park offers family and individual activities with miles of beaches, biking, kayaking, camping, and an RV park if you want to stay on the base.

“During the spring through summer months are the largest amount of visitors,” stated Denise Dooley, the Museum’s Administrator. “The admission is free and self-guided unless a Park Ranger is requested, then a three dollar charge will be assessed per person.”

For more information on the Contraband Camp, exhibit email W. Robert Kelly, Casemate Museum Historian at

For more information on The Walking Tours offered contact, Aaron Firth at (757) 722-FORT (3678).

Further information on the Contraband Camps is provided below.