Meosha Thomas, an Englewood native and the Veterans Services Specialist for Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, received the State of Illinois’ “Veteran of the Month” recognition for January 2013. The Illinois Veteran of the Month award honors the work of military veterans whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty as volunteers at local, state, and national levels and in support of fellow veterans and the U.S. military.
“Meosha Thomas has shown incredible courage and bravery in service to her country and now serves our city with professionalism and dignity,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “On behalf of all Chicagoans I congratulate her on this truly deserved recognition.”
As Veterans Services Specialist at Kennedy-King College, Thomas helps provide the guidance and support veterans need as students, graduates and job-seekers. In November 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman launched City Colleges’ Service to Success initiative, which involved: the creation of a veterans center at each college staffed by a full-time veterans specialist, and the launch of programs providing scholarship assistance and awarding of academic credits for prior military service to student veterans. Thomas is the full-time Veterans Services Specialist managing KKC’s new Veterans Center that works to ensure veterans receive the academic support they need to land jobs and start careers, and the support they need to successfully transition back to civilian life.
“We congratulate Meosha Thomas on this well-deserved recognition of her contributions and advocacy on behalf of her fellow military veterans,” said Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago. “Meosha exemplifies the type of above-and-beyond commitment City Colleges of Chicago is making to serve and support our entire student veteran population.”
“Meosha Thomas is a great example of our women veterans and the value they add to our communities,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Borggren, who presented the official proclamation honoring Thomas during a January 24 ceremony at Kennedy-King College. “Since leaving the Navy in 2006, she has consistently sought opportunities and venues to help other veterans and to make an impact. Her resilience, commitment and contributions to our veterans have been invaluable.”
Thomas served 10 years of active duty as an Information Systems Technician in the United States Navy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was honorably retired from service because of injuries she sustained in 2006. She returned home to Chicago and began teaching through the State of Illinois’ Troops to Teachers Program.
A single mother of two children, she graduated from Kennedy-King College in May 2012 as class valedictorian and delivered the commencement address to the City Colleges of Chicago graduating class.
“Being recognized as Illinois’ Veteran of the Month is a great honor,” said Thomas. “I hope this will bring more attention to the wide range of services available to military veterans at Kennedy-King College and throughout City Colleges of Chicago.”
“We are extremely proud of Meosha for all of her accomplishments, and her selection as the Illinois Veteran of the Month is no exception,” said Kennedy-King College president Joyce Ester, Ph.D. “She is a role model who never hesitates to give of her time, energy and expertise in support of a fellow veteran.”
Thomas was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two NATO Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbons and the Navy Good Conduct Medal.
In the veteran community, Thomas also made significant contributions in support of veterans and military personnel through her numerous organizational and committee memberships, including active involvement with National Women Veterans United, Disabled American Veterans, Student Veterans of America, the Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group and S.A.L.U.T.E. Military Honor Society.
In addition to her military and academic accomplishments, Thomas has earned numerous scholarships and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In June 2012, Thomas was honored by the Chicago White Sox as the "Military Hero of the Game" for her outstanding military service. In December 2012, she participated in the “Chicago Welcomes Heroes Home” parade.
Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, an Associate of Science in Computer Studies, and an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. She is currently working towards a Masters in Public Administration.
Each month, on behalf of the State of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs recognizes a different veteran who contributes to the betterment of communities across the state.