To say that Christopher (Chris) Smith is passionate about Military and Veteran Services would be an understatement. Serving in the military and advocating on the behalf of those who have also served or are serving is so much a part of Chris’ life that it not only involves passion, but it has become integral to his purpose.
Chris was recently named as the director of the Office of Military and Veteran Services at Marywood University. While a student at Marywood University, he was the president of the Student Veteran Alliance (SVA), the official campus chapter of the Student Veterans of America. His vision is to build upon the foundation of the office and further enhance community involvement projects, veteran resources, and education benefits.
“I’m excited to be working with the student veterans and their families, to provide them with the tools to succeed on campus and in the community,” Chris said. “Being part of the Marywood community as a student veteran, as president of the SVA, and, now, as the director of the Office of Military and Veteran Services, I have the opportunity to return to the department that I am passionate about,” he continued.
While some of the initiatives on campus will go unchanged as a result of their success, including: Field of Flags and the Veterans Day luncheon, Chris is looking to build upon those successes to further advance the Office of Military and Veteran Services, both on campus and in the community.
Maintaining relationships within the community will help Chris accomplish many of the initiatives he has planned, such as Operation Tails for Troops, which supported two independent organizations including: Dog Tags, Pennsylvania, and Paws and Stripes, New Mexico, non-profit organizations that train, assist, guide, and serve veterans who have been diagnosed by the Veteran’s Administration with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or Military Sexual Trauma (MST), through the operation of a Service Dog Program.
Chris earned his bachelor of science degree in nutrition and dietetics, with a minor in science, from Marywood University. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science and sports nutrition at Marywood. Chris knows that his background in nutrition and dietetics, along with his pursuit of a master’s degree in exercise science, will assist him in developing programs to assist veterans and their families.
“Physical activity is a great way for veterans to keep involved in the community. Physical activity, structure, and goals become second nature when veterans are serving, and keeping physically active following service helps with the transition into the community,” Chris said.
While Chris was an undergraduate student at Marywood University, he helped lead the SVA in raising more than $12,000 for Operation Tails for Troops; applied to, and received a $9,500 grant from the Student Veterans of America and the Home Depot, which was used to open the Veterans Resource Center at Marywood University; and was president of the SVA when it was selected as the National SVA Chapter of the Year.
Chris volunteers for and is a member of numerous organizations, including: VFW and AMVETS and S.A.L.U.T.E, the Veteran Honors Society. He was member of the SVA when it received the SVA Excellence in Leadership Award, served as a member of the R-VETS (Renewal-Veteran Education and Transition Services) Program advisory board; assisted in teaching a one-credit Shinko Ryu Karate course at Marywood University; and has volunteered at the Scranton Steamtown Marathon.
Chris served as a combat support engineer in the United States Army, where he supervised a 15-soldier security detail and a 150 Iraqi National work detail, which was responsible for completing major contracting projects. He also served as a remedial physical fitness instructor, where he developed and implemented a companywide fitness program for all soldiers who failed to meet Army physical training requirements. Additionally, he was responsible for teaching, evaluating, and implementing training programs mandated by the Army; documented and provided individual certification to ensure both unit and soldier compliance; was routinely entrusted with briefing higher command with the results of independent operations; and volunteered to plan and perform unit wide morale events.
Chris is the proud father to three daughters, Kyleigh (age 15), Abagail (age 13), and Reilly (age 11). He enjoys woodworking, reading, kayaking, riding motorcycles, target practice, and spending time with his family.
Visit Office of Military and Veteran Services, or call (570) 961-4584 for additional information.