November 3, 2002, 20:45 EDT

Deploying soldier continues education

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Sgt. Kevin Robinson is preparing with other soldiers of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry, Virginia Army National Guard to enter active federal service for a year, but he is not putting his life on hold. Robinson, a full-time soldier with Headquarters Company is also a student at Liberty University in Lynchburg. And just because he will be leaving Lynchburg for at least a year doesn't mean that he will put aside his pursuit of a baccalaureate degree while he is gone.

Robinson, an "adult student", has been working for his degree at Liberty for about six years now. He has three more classes to go to satisfy the requirements for his degree. After working with his instructor and administrators he has learned that he can complete this semester's requirements while he is on active. Even more important, he has learned that he can complete his last two classes, biology and math, through Liberty's distance learning program.

Robinson said that his Government 200 instructor, Kevin Clauson, has been a tremendous help to him in preparing to stay in school while Robinson is deployed. Clauson's assistance and Robinson's determination have been essential for Robinson to stay focused on completing his degree in the next year. Robinson said that he even has a bet going with a friend that whoever completes their degree requirements first has to buy the other dinner. Robinson intends to complete his degree while on active duty and come home to that dinner.

When asked what the future beyond this active duty deployment and graduation from Liberty holds for him, Robinson has some strong ideas. He said he has three to four years to go to complete 20 years of active service and he will be eligible for retirement from the military. Once he has earned that retirement he would like to teach. He said he would like to pursue a master's degree in education.

Completing his degree opens other doors as well. He said he enjoys youth counseling at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, where he attends church in Lynchburg. He said he would also like to work toward a position as Assistant Dean of Men at Liberty University or possibly become a chaplain. One gets an idea that Robinson has the imagination, skill, and tenacity to accomplish any of these goals by hearing about his most recent achievement.

When Robinson heard that his unit might be called to active federal service he went to the Pastor of his church, Rev. Jonathan Falwell, to see what could be done to support the soldiers involved in the mobilization. Robinson, Falwell and the Sam's Club in Lynchburg came together with the idea of providing 150 pre-paid phone cards to the unit so soldiers could keep in touch with loved ones while they are away. The Sam's Club offered the phone cards at a discount and the church purchased them for distribution to the soldiers.

As Robinson is preparing to depart for Ft. Bragg; and stay involved with his studies at Liberty University, he seems to know how he will use his time over the next year. He said "I'm excited to see the end of the road. I'm going to put my time to good use by taking courses." No doubt he is and he will.

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