Annual African American Heritage Celebration
Black Veterans With Success
Their History, Health and commitment to Excellence
Veterans today are exposed to a variety of issues, both home and abroad. It takes a strong will, government and civil support, understanding and sometimes innovative approaches to break barriers and achieve a well earned success.
Guest panelists will exemplify ways that success can be achieved as they share their stories with us. Soldiers & Sailors Historian John L. Ford will moderate the discussion with four achievers that represent the best of military and social accomplishment. The panel discussion of speakers include the following veterans from our Air Force and Army. ( Bios below)
Sergeant, S.D.V. Richard D. Portis, U.S. Army
Captain Darren Rogers, 911th U.S. Air Force Reserve
Sergeant 1st Class Rosalind Atkins-Green, U.S. Army
Colonel Edmund D. Effort, DDS (retired) U.S. Air Force
Also joining the group will be Ms. Heather Steel with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Minority Veterans Program. She will answer questions about VA health care and other specific military health related issues.
The 5th Annual African-American Heritage Celebration begins at 1 p.m. in the Gettysburg Room, which features the exhibit “Slave to Soldier” showcasing the importance of the historical legacy of African-American soldiers.
Soldiers & Sailors Museum will be open to the public with free admission during normal museum hours from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. All military and veterans are invited and encouraged to attend.
Bios for Panelists
Sergeant, S.D.V. Richard G. Portis, U.S. Army – Richard G. Portis is a leader and advocate of Veteran Employment/Entrepreneurship outreach and Training Programs. As the Director of XXI-C Industries, Richard brings 30 years of leadership experience, revenue generation, and innovative development strategies to benefit thousands of Pennsylvania Veterans. In addition to managing his own company, Richard developed, launched and managed The Veterans Entrepreneurship Project (VETP) at Robert Morris University in 2003. Richard’s leadership at the VETP earned support and an established partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). By 2005, the VETP became the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at Robert Morris University. As a result, the SBA recognized Richard’s accomplishments naming him Regional Director from 2005-2010. Richard coordinated the Center’s evolution into the current program known as the Veteran’s Virtual Training Institute.
Captain Darren Rogers, 911th Air Force Reserve – Darren Rogers graduated from Brashear High School in 1984 and married Latonya Rogers in 1985. He enlisted in the PA Air National Guard in 1985 and transferred to active duty, serving for 8 years. In 1999, he became a member of the 171st Air Refueling Wing (ARW), PA Air National Guard. In 2001, Tech Sgt. Rogers accepted a position as a recruiter at the 171st ARW. In 2006 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. and became the first active duty Medical Administrative Officer for the 171st ARW. In 2014 Captain Rogers resigned his active duty position with the 171st and enrolled full time at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary to pursue a Master’s of Divinity in order to answer the call of God. He and Latonya have three children: Jasmine Rogers, a kindergarten teacher in Washington DC, Lieutenant Darren Rogers Jr., an Air Force pilot assigned to the 146th Air Refueling Squadron and Christa Rogers, an electrical engineer pursuing a PHD in Systems Engineering at the University of Maryland. He is a 24 year Air Force Veteran with 22 years of active duty experience. He is currently serving in the 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron of the Air Force Reserves as the Executive Officer to the Medical Group Commander.
Sergeant 1st Class Rosalind Atkins-Green, U.S. Army – Rosalind Atkins-Green (Retired) was born in Neubrucke, Germany. Her father was a retired Vietnam Veteran and her mother served in the U.S. Women’s Army Corps. Her family settled in Detroit, MI where she graduated from Franklin Cody High School, attended Wayne State University and in November 1983 enlisted in the U.S. Army. Sgt. 1st Class Atkins-Green attended Basic Army Training at Fort Jackson, SC and obtained the Military Occupational Specialty 62B, Construction Equipment Repairer/Operator upon completion of Advance Individual Training at the Army Engineer School at Fort Lenard Wood, MO. In 1986, Sgt. 1st Class Atkins-Green reclassified to the Military Occupational Specialty 75B, Personnel Administration Specialist, and served the remainder of her career in progressing levels of leadership within the military human resources career field. Sgt. 1st Class Atkins-Green has served with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), in Baqubah, Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her military awards include a Bronze Star, Joint Meritorious Service Medal (2), Meritorious Medal (3), Commendation Medal (4), Achievement Medal (4) and Good Conduct Medal (8). Sgt. 1st Class Atkins Green has two daughters who have served their country as military children.
Colonel Edmund D. Effort, U.S. Air Force – Edmund Effort graduated from the University of Illinois in 1972 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry/Physics. He received a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Michigan in 1977. He served in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Royal Air Force Alconbury base in England from 1977-1981. In 1990 Colonel Effort was activated in support of Desert Shield at Langley Air Force Base and in 2003 he became an Individual Augmentee in the Air Force Reserves. He retired in 2007, after 30 years of service with the rank of Colonel. After his service, Colonel Effort became a founding member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. in 2010. Aside from his military career, Colonel Effort has maintained a private dentistry practice since 1981 and has served on various committees and boards of dentistry at the state level. He and his wife Elaine have two children, Edmundson and April.