Union County News

Meet Coast Guard's First African-American Female Helicopter Pilot, La'Shanda Holmes

The Coast Guard's Lieutenant La'Shanda Holmes Credits: Jennifer Popper
Plainfield resident Greg Carter and his wife Sandy with their niece, Lieutenant La'Shanda Holmes Credits: Jennifer Popper
Lieutenant La'Shanda Holmes Credits: Jennifer Popper

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Drive across South Ave. to East 7th Street in Plainfield, and you might catch a glimpse of a banner celebrating Lieutenant La'Shanda Holmes, the first African-American female helicopter pilot in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Holmes was born in Plainfield's Muhlenberg Hospital in 1985.  After her mom passed away when she was just two years old, she faced a difficult childhood, and spent time in the foster care system.

Overcoming adversity, Holmes attended Atlanta's Spelman College as a Bonner Scholar. The program provides a four-year scholarship to students in need who have a commitment to service. 

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As a freshman, she studied biochemistry. That year, she worked at a career fair, sitting across the way from a gentleman from the Coast Guard. The Iraq War had begun, and he hadn't had many students visit his booth. Holmes struck up a conversation, and became intrigued in what he had to say about the military service. 

She was offered a scholarship for her last two years at college, and in 2005, headed to boot camp in Cape May, NJ. Holmes graduated from Spelman College in 2007, and from Officer Candidate School in 2008.  In 2010, she earned the coveted Wings of Gold, pinned on her by mentor Lt. Jeanine Menze, the first African-American female pilot in the Coast Guard who flew C-130s.

Holmes moved to Los Angeles, where she worked search and rescue, marine environment protection, and drug migrant interdiction duty. After, in Atlantic City, she worked Rotary Wing Air Intercept, or RWAI, around the President of the United States.

While in Atlantic City, she found out about the White House Fellows Program under the Obama administration, and was appointed to the 2015-16 class.

Today, Lt. Holmes is stationed in Miami. She has applied to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and has received an acceptance letter to become a five-year term member. 

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Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Freeholders Honor Elizabeth Police Officers Who Rescued Boy Struck By Train

July 23, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Two Elizabeth police officers who rescued a 13-year-old boy struck by a freight train were honored Thursday night by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Elizabeth Police Officers Eric Santiago Gora and Luciano Nicolas Porto responded to Franklin Street on May 11 to find the boy going into shock with an amputated leg.

“We have to also acknowledge that ...

Fanwood: Jersey’s Best Kept Secret

 

At less than 30 miles to NYC, Fanwood offers a wonderful small town feel. Fanwood is 1.3 square miles in size with a population of approximately 7,300 residents. Appealing to young families, commuters, as well as baby boomers looking to downsize, it is the perfect location to call home.

Fanwood offers:

Pretty Victorian-style train station at the town center and a bus line to ...

Mayor of Scotch Plains Invites All to the July 19th Downtown Redevelopment Meeting

July 17, 2017

Dear Editor:

When I ran for office last year, the second point of my Five-Point Plan was downtown redevelopment. If you have been watching the Township Council meetings or reading various news outlets, you know the Council has made good progress on downtown redevelopment. 

Specifically, the Township Council established a Scotch Plains Downtown Redevelopment Committee in March and ...

Fanwood: New Jersey's Best Kept Secret

July 24, 2017

At less than 30 miles to NYC, Fanwood offers a wonderful small town feel. Fanwood is 1.3 square miles in size with a population of approximately 7,300 residents. Appealing to young families, commuters, as well as baby boomers looking to downsize, it is the perfect location to call home.

Fanwood offers:

Pretty Victorian style train station at the town center and a bus line to Port ...

Westfield Memorial Library to Host Folk Singer Spook Handy and Coloring for Adults

July 24, 2017

WESTFIELD, NJ -- On Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m., the Westfield Memorial Library will host, “The American Story through Folk Song” by singer Spook Handy. The library will also present, “Color your World,” a two-hour coloring workshop for adults on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 10:00 a.m. to noon. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

Mr. Handy’s ...

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