image showing top half of building on Saint Leo University's campus

Saint Leo 360° Podcast

Episode 19: Catching Up w/Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy (Part II)

Posted by Greg Lindberg on July 23, 2020

PODCAST-Episode-19

Download Transcript

Speaker 1:
Saint Leo 360, a 360-degree overview of Saint Leo University community.

Greg Lindberg:
Welcome to another episode of the Saint Leo 360 Podcast. Once again, I'm your host, Greg Lindberg. On this episode, we are returning to a visit with one of our students that we chatted with on the previous episode of this podcast, and he is Retired Sergeant Major Clifford Lovejoy. Sergeant Major, welcome back to the podcast.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, thank you very much, Greg. It's a good day to dance with you and members of the Saint Leo family.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. Like I mentioned before, we're lucky to have you as a student, just with your background and everything. So speaking of Saint Leo University, I know you did attend for your undergrad with us. I know you did attend a few of our education centers in Georgia. If you could just kind of take us through the time frame of how you initially found out about Saint Leo and ultimately made that decision to enroll with us?

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, absolutely. If I may, I'd like to digress and go back to, I believe, 2003 when I relocated transferred, from the Pentagon to Fort McPherson Georgia. There, as an active-duty soldier, everyone was trying to better their skill sets and for their life after the military, and so one day I looked and I've seen all these soldiers running at lunch time, and they weren't going to a dining facility and I stopped one and said, "Where are you going?" He said, "Man, I got to go to class. We got school. I said, Wow! So it turned out that there were universities and Saint Leo was one of them, the main one at Fort McPherson, where soldiers were in the afternoon starting at lunchtime, going to school as well afterwards.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so I took a look at the different universities and decided on Saint Leo at the time as a Catholic University, and so that's how essentially it started right there. And took a few courses where I was deployed in the theater of operation and felt, man, this is not really good to be a soldier fighting in war and completing the studies but of course I wasn't as well-rounded then as I am now and it was kind of difficult for me to focus on taking an online test after just being in a combat operation and so I was really struggling to get through. But once I got back to Atlanta, I knew that it was something that I needed to do, complete my schooling and from my previous experiences, from the faculty advisors and others, there was no school that really supported veterans military like Saint Leo, so I went to the Morrow facility and enrolled.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
I started out initially with human resources because that had been my background, but as I began to navigate and learn some things, I knew that one of the weaknesses I had was mathematics, so I couldn't do really business and things of that nature, and I can't stand math anyway. And so I wanted something with a religious background but as well, something that would help me understand my fellow man in a better understanding. Because I felt that I had a light that was lightweight sheltered and as much as 39 years in the military, there's a whole life. Some of our military installations like Fort Bragg, is bigger than Denver, Colorado. Got more people, more land, more everything and so there was a whole different military culture.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
But now that I was out of the military, I had to learn about the world and how to survive and navigate. And so I ultimately chose sociology, the specialization and apply clinical and diversity and equality, and it was exactly what I needed to help me understand marriages, people, how the brain works and just how to survive with diversity and people and everything. And so that really worked out well. And actually it helped save my life because of all the people that were studying in that program, both adults who were attending the different online, or excuse me, remote classes. And then you had students who were fresh out of high school as well, so we had a combination. Then you had the professionals who had full time jobs, but was a part time professor.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
So it was just a wealth of people coming together to get at it, to improve their quality of life, and I was in the middle of cheap moving and communicate. Being 60 years old and a full time student, with everybody giving it all that they had. And they kind of thought I was strange because I was into it so much, but I was learning from everybody, the people and why they were going and what moves them and sociologists to, "Wow, you won't find any better people" a matter of fact, my hero is William Julius Wilson, who was one of our very famous sociologist. And his background, I kind of thought was similar to mine, where his mother was a maid and come from a background and she wouldn't believe, and rose up to be a professor at Harvard and some other things.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so heck, it really all came together and ultimately, as I finished sociology, I decided that I needed to pursue the master's and ultimately a PhD. And so there was a little bit of a struggle to figure out which program would be the best for me, but Saint Leo had exactly what I needed, which was emergency disaster management which it was meant for me, because I still want to be in the fight so to speak, to help save the world. And I think today, with everything that's going on, of course individual program would tell you what they bring to the table, but I think that's an exceptional program and it's helped me tremendously, and I can't wait to get to work in the very near future, to bring my skills to bear. So that's kind of a little bit of the background starting in 2016, when I began a full time with Saint Leo University.

Greg Lindberg:
Very well said. And just going back to the bachelor's program, I know there were a few instructors that you had in that program who really stood out to you and made such a positive impact on you, and I wondered if you could just kind of speak to some of those instructors.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, absolutely. Yeah, there was two in particular. There was Dr. Margaret Snead and Dr. Aloma Mendoza, and they were really exceptional. Both are sociologists and would work with the students like you wouldn't believe. I got a chance to not only know how well they worked with me, because it was very challenging. I was sick with prostate cancer residuals, where I had the PTSD, high blood pressure, diabetes, tumor. Oh, man, don't let me have a hot flash now, obesity, wearing a pamper, had a care provider and a service dog. So I'm bringing all this to Saint Leo. And one of things I think every student has to do is take a moment and be honest with their instructors to tell them who they are and what they stand for and what they're going through so they can have a better feel because they've got a good range of people to work with.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And it was just amazing how both of them rolled up their sleeves and walked with me in everything that I did needed, with any issue, both professionally personally. I mean, they were there for me and there for other students. I was able to watch and I was a little frustrated in the beginning because I didn't really understand that Dr. Snead was such a caring instructor. She's also a scientist at CDC, so she really understands her craft and how to work with adults. And so I've watched her roll up her sleeves, meet with the difference members and give them some tutoring. I don't want to really put out their business, but they could meet at her office and sit down and really go at it.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so I really call that, I think when you talk about commitment, you can talk about the chicken and the pig and the difference between the two, I'm showing I'm a southern kid now, that the chicken gives up the egg, but when you talk about commitment, the pig gives up the bacon and so ultimately he dies. And so that's really being committed. And so bringing students who were adults and really working with them as they needed extra help and coaching them in that environment was exceptional. And it reminds me of the military, where we don't leave anyone behind in the middle of combat and so I was able to discover that in particular with those two.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And Dr. Mendoza was able to... English was really her forte, and some of the students struggled with writing and I've watched her when I would either come in early, because I was retired or stay late. And she was there with the students rolling up her sleeves and going at it. And as you know, they don't get paid any extra money for that time, so I don't know if the students really, probably` they think that, that's just the way Saint Leo rolls, but that isn't. It is, but every university isn't like that. And not all instructors are like that. And so you won't find two better qualified women that are professionals on top of their craft, and can talk about any subject on the spectrum of life from the beginning of religion all the way until today and after.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so that was motivating me to keep going and kind of want to be around them because well, we have generals and great warriors, these two ladies were really inspiring for me. And they didn't know that when I came to class, and I was dressed as well as I could, I was coming to see them and listen to them, because they were part of some knowledge and I wanted every bit of it.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. Very interesting, because you also talked about just as far as the education centers you attended and just kind of the vibe of the centers, the atmosphere, just your fellow students, the staff. I know, from what I've understand, it really is a family environment, every Saint Leo location.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, absolutely. And both in class and the online, both have their pluses and minuses. But when you have that many professionals in class working throughout the great City of Atlanta, students from all walks, everybody's just trying to make it better. There was a lot of good networking and a lot of assistance. I was able to find that there was classmates after I finished a class and I'd walk out and there'd be a young lady standing there and her ride didn't pick her up or the bus had already come and gone and they had no way to get home. And so I didn't know that students were catching buses to come to school and yeah. And it was like miles away, so I volunteer and give them a ride and it was really surprising how far it was away.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And then they go into the neighborhood, told me a few things that, "Man, everybody's trying to improve their quality of life." And just the way the students shared things, their challenges, who they are it was just really wonderful. And we would then as well, that if someone had an issue, one of the class members would take charge and bring it to everybody else's attention and then we would get at how to solve it and what to do. And the instructors were aware of that and would contribute as well because it was all about success and nobody was trying to block anyone from doing anything to help everyone be successful in the right way. And so that was very rewarding. And each location, even though it had different people there, it was the same family environment and don't know how it is really in Florida.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
They're on the campus, but man, it's the real world out here, and the professionals getting added and helping one another with jobs because people listen to one another, grief and give them presentations and their grades and yeah. Hiring actions would take place. Members working at the VA and guidance was being given and so you're coming to class every day. You could just about take any personal issue you had at home, and bring it out as a discussion somewhere, maybe during break. And there was somebody who could assist you and get at it and I thought that was really wonderful.

Greg Lindberg:
Right and very nice. I know you did mention your wife, Lady Veronica, and I believe she was also a student at the time, taking classes while you were attending some of the education centers and then working on your bachelor's degree. And I'm curious, what was that like having her support there when you both were attending there?

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, that is very exciting because even though today I'm 64, I look like I'm 36 except for the beard. But Lady Veronica is a beautiful, a young Latina, 40 years old and helped save my life and serves as my not only best friend, but my wife and care provider. And so a part of that then was to go to school as well, and to be able to sit in the class room with her and for her to be from Mexico and look at America's best. Learning and working everyday together so we could talk about our studies, the few classes that we had together, or she would be right down the hall as we chose to make sure that we went on the same days so we could ride together, and to be able to have those discussions at home and at the dinner table was very helpful. And helped in the marriage and with the service dogs and just everything.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And to then also to then learn about if there was any challenges, because sometimes girls talk about things in the restroom, if there was an issue she would share it with me and as a young Sergeant Major, I'm going to bring it to somebody's attention and we're going to get at it, because we don't let folks or students have problems and try to go to school and we know about it and not do anything about it. So it was really wonderful. And so I'm excited that she's been a part of my life and we look forward to a mile ultimately going to graduation and working on putting together my outfit and all of those things. So it's going to be exciting times.

Greg Lindberg:
Very cool. That's awesome. And then I know you did mention the graduate emergency and disaster management program that you're currently in. And I know that it's an online program which is obviously a different animal from attending an actual physical location. Talk about just how you've handled that program, what that whole experience has been like taking online degree program.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, thank you. That's a good thing. Yeah. Goodness gracious. Just finished a course. I would tell you that online is a different program. It offers some wonderful things for those who are professionals and can't actually get to class, so that's wonderful in that light. For me number one, it's all about commitment. You really got to be committed because there's nobody really to help you, but yourself. And it's all online and so for those who do that, you've got to be 100% committed and nothing else will suffice. You have to make that commitment. And with that I think my only struggle was that, or has been that I want to talk to somebody, everything is through writing and I say, "God, I do enough writing." And so I like instant feedback.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
But yeah, and that's an awful a lot of writing and the standards are higher in the graduate program. So you've got to lace up your boots and find that going from the undergrad to the graduate, it's really that, when it has the title masters, it really means that. One of the things I recently learned that was a little bit frustrating was, because I aspired to be the valedictorian and with the appropriate GPA and was competing, and found that I couldn't be because that's only for the undergraduate, because everyone going into the master program is big brain. I've never been big brain before so it was something new for me and something that I was chasing and it went all the way up to the president to ask why, because the answers that I was given just didn't suffice for me because I had never been in the category that I could be looked at to be a valedictorian, but no university has valedictorian in the graduate program.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so that's just one I have to push aside and will hopefully have a hooded ceremony. But with that said, the other interesting thing with the graduate programming is, you have all the professionals around the world that are both overseas, and different things that are taking courses and the introductions all in writing, you get to look at who they are and where they're at so if you want to chase a career in a particular organization, there you've got a senior official in that organization to include your faculty advisor. Some of the most important folks around the world are faculty advisors at Saint Leo. And they're more than willing to assist and make a recommendation, providing that you've got the right GPA and you shared some things and they're there to provide all the right guidance.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
So it's really worked out extremely well for me. And I talked to still frequently, both my instructors at the undergraduate program and the graduate program. A matter of fact, I believe that with the virus going on right now, and I've thought about, "What is it I can do to help the students?" And I realized it's meals ready to eat, which is a package of meals that are sealed that can last for five years. And it's my thought as an emergency disaster management student within the communities, we may ultimately get locked down. And if we do, how are you going to eat? Because the supermarkets and everywhere. I've got a son in Italy right now, who's in lock down and sharing some of his challenges with me.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so I talked to one of my instructors the other day in disaster emergency management, and shared with them what I was doing to share with Dr. Smith, that we need to look at how to get these meals to the students as well as the faculty advisors, because soon Walmart and every place you, if you're locked down, you got to eat. If you can't go out and get it, what you're going to do? And so that's my contribution, and he had shared with me that our infrastructure is so good there at Saint Leo, that we can instantly go online for every student, to include those at the campus. And if things really got bad, we would ultimately maybe need to send students home and back where they came from, if things ever got that bad. So Saint Leo has plans and processes in place and I said, "Go, hey, it's Saint Leo. No wonder I'm on the 18th." So yeah, this is just good stuff, man.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. And kind of on that note, if you could just speak broadly about what Saint Leo University has meant to you in your life, and how it maybe has changed you or changed your perspective, or really made a positive impression on you.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, goodness gracious. Let me see. Well, I'm always going to be a Sergeant Major. That was something that you can never take away and that's my title, and that was primarily in combat. And today's, a lot of people still call me Sergent Major, but really I've always considered myself just a student of life and I continue to learn and will always want to learn. And what Saint Leo has really done for me, is it in fatality, it's made me a whole person all the way around, because once your military career is over, no matter what profession you've chosen, you've got to be able to bring some things to the table and Saint Leo through sociology and all the people that I've met, and diversity and equality has just made me a better person where I can listen, and more understanding. Just about, no matter what you talk about, either I know a tad bit about it, or I know how to go do some research on it.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
So it's helped me with my PTSD, that I can relax, the many veterans that I've had a chance to talk to in class, now we understand that education is the center of gravity. There was a frustration in the military some time ago as we held promotion boards, and we would look at a person's records and we would look at how many times they deployed. I'm talking about Sergeant Majors now and the old ones. And if you had deployed the combat nine or 10 times, we thought that was exceptional and that's the kind of guy to be promoted. But if you were pursuing your undergrad or your graduate, we would say, "That soldier is not taking care of soldiers because they're focused on their education and not the welfare of their soldiers."

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so that was an own mindset for those who had no education. And so we have learned as those of us who've got beyond that and are out now, and they're senior in age, that education is the center of gravity and you can't make decisions if you're not informed and know how to do research and things of that nature and how to read right, because at some point on, you've got to express yourself. You've got to write a statement and all those things and one that's legible and that makes sense. And Saint Leo has put all that together, not only for me, but as I've listened to the other students who were competing for a promotion and what we were trying to achieve, it's made me a better person. My wife is a better, I think of it because of it, and we're even a little closer, and we think we're Saint Leo kids.

Greg Lindberg:
Very nice.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Matter of fact, I'm wearing one of my Saint Leo jackets right now. And so when I go out throughout Atlanta, I'm proud to wear it. Some people wear Nike and all that other stuff, but I'm Saint Leo and can talk about it. And when they then have a conversation with me, they'll think about well, I rather check Saint Leo out because the students there are good looking, articulate and seem to be clean. Got all of their teeth, fingernails are clean. and we grew up pretty well at least here in Atlanta, and I'm sure at the main campus, but yeah. So that's my bid on what Saint Leo has done for the young sod mates.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow. Hey, we certainly appreciate your support and we're so honored to have been able to serve you as far as education and whatnot. We appreciate those words very much. I did want to touch on your involvement with active duty military veterans and also military families that have dealt with various struggles and challenges, whether it's health, whether it's suicide. I know you've done a lot of work and then spent many hours of your time devoted to that population. So if you could just speak to some of the specific things that you've with regard to some of those organizations involved in those areas.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Yes. Well, helping veterans, those are my favorite people. I didn't really know. There seems to be a lightweight discrimination between those who are, and it's not really bad. It's just an ego thing between those who are active duty and those who retire and are veteran, and who's really the best and it's really one family and one team. And I think every soldier one day or air man, no matter what branch he served in, if you get your way and you're fortunate enough that you can retire, because the military is the only organization in America today, that you can get a full retirement with 20 years of service. And that's very difficult to do because you can get in an accident and if anything happens, then you maybe won't be able to retire, but having done that, and got a chance to look at nonprofits. I worked as the combined federal campaign manager for the army in the National Capitol Region in Washington DC and I then knew a couple of years ago, we had over 8,000 nonprofit organizations.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so I was looking for which ones really help veterans and found a couple, Wounded Warrior Project, which is the Exceptional Organization, Operation Warfighter with scuba diving. But the one that really touched my heart and changed the trajectory of my life at the moment, was Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. And it's been around for 25 years, caring for families of the fallen. And I'm a military mentor for that program. And in that program, if you lost a parent, a brother, cousin serving in the military, this nonprofit organization is there for you and we're really professional 25 years. But what happened for me as a military mentor, because I looked at everything that I was involved in and I said, "No, I want to help a young teenager or a young kid." Everybody of my age, we've already made the mistakes and it is what it is at that point in time and we're just trying to survive. I said, "But I want to help young kids change their trajectory of their life."

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so what better program that you'll go get involved in for children who've lost a parent in combat?. And so as I got involved in TAPS, it really changed the way I thought, because not only there were they really helping families, but I got a chance to learn something much more about suicide because in the military, if you commit suicide there's an investigation and some things are done and you got to go, but there's a life with the families after the suicide has taken place. And so how do you deal with a grief and how do you stabilize in the aftermath of the loss in the journey? And so this program focuses on that. And I found that if I got a chance to be a military mentor, there was a young mentee as I got involved and probably there's never too much.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Again, it goes to that pig and chicken commitment, you got to really be committed and you can't just be happy. And then of course, Saint Leo has been a part of that for me, they've been committed to me so I'm just passing it forward in the commitment as well. And so with the skill sets that I've learned about sociology and not just being a hardcore sergeant major. So here I am with a 14 year old kid whose brother have killed himself in suicide And so what are the challenges for a child out there? Well, I ultimately discovered as I began navigating that there's many challenges because no one knows why a person takes their life per se. And so then you have the family that are immediately impacted and they're struggling because they gave their kids to the military.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so why didn't you take care of them? So to speak, well, the military can't quite answer it because they did what they were supposed to do. They didn't see it coming maybe. And so then there's the parents, and here the parents are struggling with the grief and the anger and everything that's associated. And with suicide there's no pride per se or excuse me, there's no hero associated with that, there's shame. And so the parent is struggling. How did it happen? He didn't tell me, I didn't see it coming. And then the kids, my brother and, so learning and just listening and being a part of that and meeting with the parents and the father was able to say, "Hey, Lovejoy, let me tell you, I could really start, maybe I could really use your help. My son, he's not listening to me. He thinks that I don't I care anymore, that I'm trying to forget, but really hail I'm hurting you. It's only been six months and I'm doing the best I can and my wife, she's doing everything she can."

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And even though this program, TAPS, has everything to help the families here, it takes more. It takes the military mentors to roll up their sleeves and to be involved and listen to these children. And so this kid wants to go into the military and be a sniper and be a ranger and to be able to fly him and take him to a football game and take him to a State park and just listen to him and make sure that he's on the right path with TAPS. TAPS covering down in the professional areas and all the counseling that's available. But for me to be right there, because sometimes the kid doesn't want to listen to his parents. And I thought I wanted a kid that had his their parents where I could be the hero, but here it was just a big brother and he wouldn't listen to anybody, but someone else who was a highly decorated combat veteran. So it was a fit for both of us to be able to help him navigate.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And matter of fact he came to my house and fully man, and he looked at my 2010 Mustang and it's a convertible and then TAPS wouldn't go all the way up. And all the mechanics were trying to charge me all kinds of money, telling me what it was going to take and needed to be in top. He went and took his bag upstairs and said, "Let me get at it." Next thing I'm sitting there and watching, and I'm a little frustrated, because I think, "This 14 year old kid is going to show me up. And he had taken out the whole backseat and determined that it just needed some fluid and so the heck, yeah. And so here's some skill sets and 14 years old and wants to go into the military. And how am I helping him and him helping me and go into Atlanta Falcons football game, and just watching him be excited.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so this program has really helped me be a better person because for those children who've lost their loved one, who's going to take care of them. As veterans, we have that responsibility to make sure we got our hands on the pulse. And so for me to be involved with this kid, along with one from Australia and the mothers and what they have gone through with suicide. They've lost their husband and their struggle as a woman would share with a mentor that, I can't teach him how to be a man and I need help with that. And so if you're going to be a mentor, I've got this woman pointing in my face and I just signed up to be a mentor, I didn't know that it was really a real commitment like that. "That you, I want you. I don't have a grandfather. There's no one else or uncle. I want you to teach him how to be a man."

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Oh God, so really you have no idea how wonderful it is and how much we're really needed and I'm sure the same thing with girls, women in this program. And so it's really changed some things for me and secretly, I'm committed 100%. I've told him, as he fix the Mustang, that as I worked with his Junior ROTC Instructors, that he needs to get a 3.5 GPA. And for graduation, he gets the Mustang. Now, that's a forcing function for me because you got to stay in school, really good looking kid, and everybody's trying to recruit him for a lot of different things. But I want him to be able to go, if it's means signing to the West point and finish with school, and can have his vehicle and just be a member of the community.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And at the end of the day all I asked for is simply that once he grows up that, that he do the same thing for someone to help them find their way and to be for them 100%. They call me, they text actually and save time and so that's been very exciting to know that they got girlfriends to pass all that kind of advice that you would as a big brother, hooking them up with my son and it's fabulous. So they've got a lot of wonderful nonprofit organizations out there, but TAPS, and for those who are veterans, it's one of the very best to be a part of the military mentor program. And again, have learned more than I could ever want to know about suicide. And when you bring people from all over the world in one place, who have gone through the same thing, suicide, where someone in their family has killed themselves, because that's what it is and to bring them together, to heal and to go through classes and to get proper footing, it's just a wonderful thing.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so I just really wanted to share that for those who are veterans, who are standing on the side and have made it, we still have to get back in the fight. And there are some children out there at all ages, both seven and eight years old, all the way up to 21 years of age that are in the TAPS program, who need military mentors in their life, so we're excited. My wife has rolled up her sleeves and doing the cooking when they pay me a visit. Hopefully one of the kids from Australia will be coming this summer and spending some time here with us, and just don't know a better way if his father was in the Australian army to give back. To just making sure that young adults can grow up and contribute to the society that they currently live in.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. That's great stuff that just ... I really have nothing else to add to that. I mean, that's such a wonderful organization and the fact that you're willing to take so much time out in the midst of also working on a graduate program and everything. We really can't thank you enough and Pat, you on the back enough for what you do for the community and young people, like you mentioned.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Well, it's been because one of the things I like to do as I mentor is, I'm able to let them see, again, because you can go to Saint Leo too. You get what I'm saying and look at my GPA, look at the papers that I've written. Sometimes if you want to grow up, you got to see somebody who looks like you, or how you may want to become. Not everybody can get to Denzel Washington, so you've got sergeant major Lovejoy. I'm not just telling you, you got to have a GPA of 3.5 or better, but here's mine. And here's what it takes. And here's my dogs. I've got three Belgian Malinois and a service dog. They get to walk with me. They get to learn about dogs because I believe that no matter where you at, if I get my way, you got to start with a dog.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
You got to learn how to love a dog, because a dog will never abandon you, here's Lovejoy promoting dogs. That if you've run out of money, that person may leave you, but the dog will never stop loving you and so you can learn there to take care of a dog and then you can start with yourself and some other things. So this whole thing is coming together and I can use the right terminologies and express myself, it's all weaved together, and so I really have to say, it's nothing Cliff would love doing. It's been Saint Leo, my faculty advisors, Dr. Snead and others, or a part of nonprofits and go away and contribute and do things.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
And so I really think it's just what educated people do. I didn't know. I wasn't educated before, but I think that's what they do. That all of them that I talked to, is involved in a nonprofit somewhere helping make America a better country, but it's the education. It's because they're able to make informed decisions and they know they need to do that. And if you don't have the education, you don't know when, so you don't do it.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. Very well said. All right. Well, I'm done I just cannot-

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
[inaudible 00:44:28].

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. I just cannot thank you enough, Retired Sergeant Major Clifford Lovejoy, for joining us here on the Saint Leo 360 Podcast. We really appreciate all the insight and just your honesty and the time that you've given us and then spent with us. So again, thank you so much.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Thank you for allowing me to share my story as I continue to negotiate through life. And hopefully, as I continue to do the things I'm doing, I look forward to being a part time professor at Saint Leo. That's how much I care about my university. I don't want to teach anywhere else, and I want to be able to help young adults and young professionals as I wear the Saint Leo pride to be a part of our university, because I know we care and that we're fully committed. And there isn't a better university out there that takes care of veterans and military members like Saint Leo, and so I just got to share that and then I can tell you that with 39 years of service for those who may listen, that when a Sergeant Major tells you is true, there's no question on whether or not that's a fact. My name was Lovejoy, and I'm still army strong.

Greg Lindberg:
Excellent. All right. Thanks so much.

Retired Army Sgt. Mjr. Clifford Lovejoy:
Thank you.

Speaker 1:
To hear more episodes of the Saint Leo 360 Podcast, visit SaintLeo.edu/slash podcast, to learn more about Saint Leo's programs and services, call 877 622 2009, or visit SaintLeo.edu.

Episode Summary

  • Balancing online education while still enlisted, deployed, and in combat operations
  • How he decided on the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Specialization in Clinical & Applied Sociology
  • Attending a few of Saint Leo University’s Education Centers and the family-oriented atmosphere at these locations
  • How he fit in so well as a 60-year-old student with health problems and a service animal
  • Dr. Margaret Snead and Dr. Aloma Mendoza, two sociology instructors who made a positive impact on him and how all of his instructors spent one-on-one time supporting him
  • How he and his classmates had mutual support for each other both inside and outside of the classroom
  • How he and his wife, Veronica, supported each other attending Saint Leo together
  • Why he decided to pursue the online Master of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management degree program and how this graduate program fits with his personality and attitude of wanting to help others
  • The benefits of an online degree program and his advice on how to be successful in one
  • How his Saint Leo University education has benefited him in his life and outlook in so many ways
  • Why he calls education the “center of gravity”
  • How he became a military mentor for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and his work mentoring children who have lost loved ones in combat or to suicide
  • His goal of becoming an adjunct instructor for Saint Leo University someday

Links & Resources

Learn more about Saint Leo University’s Bachelor of Arts in Sociology program at https://www.saintleo.edu/sociology-bachelor-applied-clinical-degree.

Find out more about the Master of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management program at Saint Leo at https://www.saintleo.edu/online-masters-degree-in-emergency-and-disaster-management.

Visit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) site at https://www.taps.org/

Be sure to catch Episode 18 of the podcast to hear Part 1 of this interview.

Recent Episodes

Subscribe to Email Updates

Request more information