Dozens of women veterans visited Regent University’s campus for a weekend retreat of recognition and rejuvenation. Women Veterans ROCK hosted workshops and guests, including Paula White, Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19. At a luncheon on Saturday, Women Veterans ROCK recognized 2016 Leaders and Legends of the year, including Regent’s own LaTonya Slade, who is a newly appointed president of Womens Veterans ROCK for Virginia. The conference also set aside time to honor a woman veteran who lost her life in the line of duty.
“Being a woman veteran takes a lot of strength,” said Slade. “Depending on the person’s situation, you have to adapt and overcome. If you have a little bit of faith, you have to lean in that direction to get through your trials, but you know you’ve done something and you’re doing something to help someone. You’ve fought for your country. You’ve gone out to sea. You’ve left your family. But, it’s all worth it, because you know you’re doing something for the greater good. As a veteran, I’m proud of that, and I’m happy I’ve been able to lean on God, and He’s gotten me through everything that I’ve ever had to go through.”
Paying tribute to a woman who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. Army, a national veteran memorial campaign, Honor and Remember, recognized a fallen soldier, Caryn Nouv. She served with the 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. She enlisted in 2009 and was killed in action while deployed in Afghanistan in 2013. Her unit joined her parents and children as Honor and Remember presented a flag in her honor.
“I was one of her team leaders, and she was in my squad,” said Staff Sergeant Rodney Golden who served alongside Nouv. “She was always bouncing around, full of life, always talking to everybody. She would come to everybody’s room, knock on their doors. It could be 3 o’clock in the morning. She didn’t meet a stranger.”
“She got along with everybody, and the people who would try to take advantage of her sense of humor, I went after them,” said Sergeant Laquita Roucker who roomed with Nouv. “I was like the bulldog. It was fun. We got along great.”
“It brings back memories. I’ve done five deployments,” said Joshua Wannemacher, Student Veterans of America Regent University chapter president. “There were a number of soldiers underneath me who passed away, a plethora of memorial services. This is the first Honor and Remember ceremony I’ve been involved in, and it brings a different dynamic to honoring a fallen soldier.”
Wannemacher represented Regent’s SVA (Student Veterans of America) as he presented family with the recognition from Honor and Remember. Regent University graduate George Lutz founded the organization after his son Tony lost his life in service in 2005. Based in Chesapeake, the organization distributes flags to families across the country. Saturday’s ceremony was the third time Regent University has hosted a presentation.
“Unfortunately, in the military, those things do happen,” said Richard Reynal, Nouv’s father. “It’s unfortunate, and we’ve had many tearful nights because it happened to us, but we appreciate the support. People we have never known before come over and hug us and express their love for our daughter in such a way that is so true and honest.”
Judy and Richard Reynal adopted Nouv when she was only six. They said she took an interest in serving in the military to better herself and her children. Now the Reynals are raising her daughter and son who accompany them to events honoring Nouv.
“The more you can talk about it, the easier it is,” said Judy Reynal. “You want to honor and respect that memory. I was going through it the other day. I received 500 cards after her death from people that we didn’t even know. Those are tangible things that you can look at years from now.”
The Reynals have collected the many thoughts of encouragement and support, as well as other memorabilia, so Nouv’s children have memories of their mother.