Nursing student earns service awards

Published 9:38 am Saturday, April 16, 2011


FRANKLIN—Chantel Yeager is no stranger to service.

She met her husband, James, in boot camp, and served two years in the U.S. Navy as an electrician’s mate before receiving an honorable discharge due to a serious knee injury.

But that didn’t stop her from helping other military families.

The Paul D. Camp Community College nursing student was recognized this year for her volunteerism, receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Presidential Call to Service Award Life Time Volunteer for 2010.

“I served as ombudsman for three years to the Explosive Ordnance Division’s Expeditionary Support Unit Two,” Yeager said.

The unit included the families of 200 to 250 sailors.

“Basically, I was the link for families to the commanding officer,” she said. “Instead of everyone knocking on the captain’s door, they called me first.”

Yeager set up the ombudsman program for the command when it was brand new, and became the first ombudsman in October 2008.

“I dealt with things like crisis calls, pre-deployment briefs and family-readiness briefs,” she said.

Yearger also organized annual Easter egg hunts for EODESU TWO and collected toys at Christmas and back-to-school supplies for the less fortunate families of service members.

A native of New Orleans, Yeager was preparing to transfer to Our Lady of Holy Cross College from Nunez Community College to work on her bachelor of science degree in nursing in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

“We had 14 feet of water,” she said. “I lived in St. Bernard’s Parish, which was affected by the (Murphy Oil) spill,” she said.

Afterward, the couple relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas, and moved to Southampton County three years ago.

Yeager is in her first year of nursing at PDCCC and will take part in the capping ceremony in May, which marks the completion of the first year in the two-year nursing degree program. She plans to transfer to Old Dominion University to pursue a nursing degree.

She received a Medical Assistant Certificate in 1998 in Hawaii and EMT certification in 2003 from Camden County College in New Jersey.

James, Chantel and 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, live in Courtland.