Justin D. Cole was born May 31, 1974, in Pendleton, Oregon. He received his Bachelor of Science in psychology from OSU in June 1996 and attained his Masters of Social Work degree from Walla Walla College. Justin was assigned as a 73A Social Work Officer while in Heidelberg, Germany. His main duty was to provide comprehensive social work intervention for more than 22,000 service and family members throughout the Heidelberg community. Intervention included marital counseling, group counseling, and individual therapy. His job also allowed him to work with the Army Family Advocacy Program addressing spouse/child abuse in the military family. His prior assignments include Oregon National Guard (11C-Mortars) squad leader in Pendleton. Justin learned to fly the Cessna 172 along with Captain Meeks. He enjoys skiing, scuba diving, playing football, and coaching. He has been a mentor for both high school and middle school students, does work for the Red Cross, and volunteers as a coach. He implemented a program addressing youth violence in Heidelberg Schools. In early 2005, Justin was serving in Iraq. His desire is to take advantage of the Army’s Long Term Education Program and return to school for a PhD and continue working toward becoming a social work consultant for the Army.
“I feel that it is a responsibility we all have as graduates of the OSU ROTC program, to return a little of our success to the source,” he said when asked why he is supporting this scholarship. “Had it not been for the inspiring cadre of OSU ROTC from 1994 to 1996, I would not have finished the program or be where I am today. The cadre and cadets were a family and McAlexander Fieldhouse was a home away from home. I feel also that had it not been for the friends I made in the program, I would not have finished my degree at OSU. The program gave me the skills I needed to succeed and has allowed me the opportunity to provide for myself and my family today. It is the least I can do. OSU Army ROTC is a program I believe in and something I am proud of. I would like others to experience the success and joy that waits just around the corner. Hopefully, this scholarship will bring a few cadets that much closer.”
Donald R. Meeks, Jr., a.k.a “Freedom,” was born and raised in Hammonton, New Jersey. He joined the Army in July 1989 after graduating from high school in Iron River, Michigan. He served for approximately three years as a heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic. After attending the University of Maryland, Augsburg Campus, for two years, he transferred to and graduated from Oregon State University. He was commissioned in June 1997 as a distinguished military graduate with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and outdoor education. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. Don’s military career began with assignments as a mechanic and driver for B Co. 3rd Combat Support Battalion 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, and then as a platoon leader in the Simultaneous Membership Program for F Troop 82nd Cavalry in Lebanon, Oregon. After commissioning, Don was immediately assigned as a platoon leader in the 230th Military Police Company (Combat Support). He also did a stint as a platoon leader in the 560th Military Police Company (Customs). Both companies are in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
During his last year in Europe, he worked as the tactical operations officer with the Provost Marshal Office at the 21st Theater Support Command. After arriving at Fort Hood, Texas, he worked as the tactical operations and plans officer for the Provost Marshal Office, 1st Cavalry Division. After a successful year at “Cav,” Captain Meeks joined the 720th Military Police Battalion as an assistant S3 for Operation Iraqi Freedom before taking command in April 2004. In June 2005, he was serving as Commander of the “Guardians” 64th Military Police Company deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06.
Don is a distinguished graduate of the heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic school, a graduate of the Military Police Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the Army’s Airborne School. His military awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2nd AWD), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, NATO Service Medal (2nd AWD), Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd AWD), Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, Parachutist Badge, Driver’s Badge, U.S. Air Force Security Forces Badge, and German Armed Forces Efficiency Badge.
Don married the former B. Susanna Frandsen of Sutherlin, Oregon. He and Susanna enjoy worldwide travel and meeting new people. By 2005, they were living in Copperas Cove, Texas, exploring and reveling in the state’s culture. The couple enjoys hiking and camping, the arts, and hanging out with friends over a brew or chai.
Justin & Don established this ROTC scholarship with BCF to annually recognize cadets who show strong motivation and dedication to raising the morale of fellow cadets.