The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) will recognize four local veterans at its annual Veterans Day Ceremony, happening Thursday, Nov. 8 at 4:15 p.m. in Treen Auditorium. The program is hosted by the school’s Student Government Organization, and the public is invited to attend.
This year’s honorees are Kevin Shannahan, Thurman Baptiste, Henry Llorence, Jr., and Deanna Lynn Potter Fowler.
Kevin Shannahan was a former captain in the U.S. Air Force. He grew up in upstate New York and graduated high school in 1980. In college, he spent two years as a cadet in a military college in Dahlonega, Georgia before transferring into the Air Force ROTC program at Valdosta State College. Shortly afterwards, he was commissioned by the Air Force.
Shannahan started as an ICBM launch officer in the Minuteman Missile Wing at Grand Forks, North Dakota. Following that, he transferred to Castle Air Force Base in Merced, California and then was stationed at the Wing Command Post at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas.
He also served for three years as a reserve officer at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento.
Since his time in the military, Shannahan has worked as a schoolteacher for the Troops to Teachers program in Red River Parish. He then went on to work at Grambling State University, where he worked as a recruiter for seven years.
Shannahan currently works as a photographer and writer for the Natchitoches Parish Journal.
Thurman Baptiste is a Natchitoches native, having been raised in the area and now serving as a deputy for the Natchitoches Parish Sherriff’s Office (NPSO).
“I enjoy working at the NPSO because I like meeting the public and each day brings a different adventure,” he said.
Deputy Baptiste was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1995 to 2009. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California; Okinawa, Japan; Parris Island, South Carolina; and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was deployed and served in Iraq during his tour of duty in 2007-2008.
Over the course of his career, he has received three Good Conduct medals, four National Defense medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, two Navy Sea Service Deployment ribbons, and a Global War on Terrorism Service medal. He exited the Marine Corps as a Sergeant.
In his spare time, Deputy Baptiste likes spending time with his children, playing sports and watching the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans.
Henry Llorence, Jr. is original from Melrose, Louisiana. In August 1980, shortly after graduating high school, he joined the U.S. Army. He received basic training at Ft. Dixon in New Jersey, where he became an expert M16 rifle marksman and hand grenade specialist. He later received advanced individual training in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where he learned how to weld and paint camouflage.
Llorence was stationed at Miesau, Germany for two and a half years, and then in Ft. Riley, Kansas, where he remained before leaving the military in August 1984. Over the course of his army career, he has done everything from working on Nike and Hawk missile launchers to welding aluminum boats and painting military vehicles.
Llorence has two children, Trey and Candance, with his wife Monica. He currently works at LSMSA as the Supervisor of Maintenance & Physical Plant.
Deanna Fowler, originally from Sterling, Colorado, attended Adams State College in Alamosa before graduating in 1971. She was commissioned as a 2LT in the U.S. Army. She started as an Assistant S1 at III Corps Artillery at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, making her the base’s first woman to be a safety officer qualified for the Field Artillery Howitzers. She was on active duty for two and a half years with an ending rank of 1LT.
In 1977, she joined the Louisiana National Guard. She started as a platoon leader before eventually taking command of the 415th Maintenance Company in 1980, making her the first woman to command a forward support maintenance company in Louisiana. She served in the National Guard for eight and a half years with an ending rank of Captain.
Since her career in the military, Fowler went on to earn her master’s in counseling and psychology at Northwestern State University. She has served as the Mental Health Program Director at both the Natchitoches Behavioral Health Clinic and the Many Mental Health Clinic before retiring in March, 2011.
Fowler has served on several boards and organizations, including the Northwestern Louisiana Human Services District Board, the Child and Youth Planning Board of Natchitoches, the American Legion, Girls and Boys State programs of Louisiana, and the NSU Demon Regiment Executive Council.
Fowler married her husband, former Army officer Leonard “Ted” Fowler, in 1972. She is the mother to one stepson and two sons.