svabannerCongressman Sam Johnson recognized two members of the Collin College community at the third annual U.S. Congressional Veteran Commendation Awards in December at the Collin College Spring Creek Campus. Dr. Stephanie Abromoske-James, professor of criminal justice, and student John Wangler were awarded the U.S. Congressional Veteran Commendation, and were among only 14 local individuals who received the award this year.

In order to be considered for this prestigious award, veterans must currently reside in the third congressional district and have served as active duty military personnel or been reservists called to active duty. In addition, they must be retired or honorably discharged from a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Meredith Martin, history professor and a faculty advisor for Student Veterans of America (SVA) at Collin College, said having members of SVA at Collin College receive commendation is gratifying, both individually and as the organization.

“As we continue to assist student veterans in making the transition from military to academic life, the commitment that service does not end once they no longer wear the uniform is one of the most important goals of our organization,” Martin said. “The commendation recognizes the value of such contributions.”

Dr. Stephanie Abromoske-James 

Dr. Stephanie Abramoske-James served 21 years in the U.S. and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedm (OIF) in 2003. In 1990, she joined the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. While a special agent, she protected three Secretaries of Defense, earned a master’s of forensic science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and investigated, processed and supervised thousands of criminal investigations, with stateside and overseas assignments, culminating in special agent in charge, operations officer, commander and forensic science officer positions.  She retired as  a Chief Warrant Officer Four.

While in Iraq as a forensic sciences officer, Dr. Abramoske-James participated in the excavation of mass graves to gather evidence against Saddam Hussein for the offense of genocide. Using her earned GI Bill benefits, Dr. Abramoske-James completed a doctorate in criminology at The University of Texas at Dallas. She currently serves as a volunteer consultant with the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center and as one of the faculty advisors for Student Veterans of America at Collin College.

John Wangler

John Wangler graduated high school in 2006 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in February 2007. Wangler deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During this Iraq tour in 2008, he completed more than 200 combat patrols throughout Al-Anbar. In 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he led mortar missions, commanded a six man vehicle checkpoint and utilized Biometric Automated Toolset and Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment systems to register the local population.

Originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Wangler returned to Frisco and started his education at Collin College.  As a leader within SVA of Collin College, Wangler has helped promote early registration, use of GI Bill benefits and orientation for student veterans. As an SVA at Collin College officer, he has led donation drives for Blue Star Mothers and helped give direct financial assistance to Collin County veterans in need. He is also a key member of the Collin College Veterans Week Planning Committee and serves as a student-veteran mentor through the Collin College Veteran Resource Center.