We paused on Veterans' Day to express our gratitude to all who have served in the armed forces to uphold America’s democratic ideals. Less than one percent of Americans serve in the military, and we are fortunate to count several Pingree alumni and many extended community members among them.
Three veterans—Jason Galui ’95, Kaisy Rosario ’08, and John St. Pierre ’10—returned to campus on November 10 to share their experiences serving in the U.S. Army. During their engaging conversation with us, they shared the crucible moments they experienced as Pingree students, how they leveraged skills learned on our campus in their careers, and advice for becoming civically-engaged citizens.
A retired lieutenant colonel in the Army, Jason’s call to service began with a promise he made while on the bus to the Forks, surrounded by other rising Pingree seniors. After losing a dear friend in his hometown of Beverly, Jason pledged to lead a life that would honor his friend, marked by maximum impact and purpose. After attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, Jason went on to build an extensive military career that included leading soldiers in combat, teaching economics to two generations of West Point cadets, personally advising the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and directly advising President Obama and President Trump as a key staffer at the National Security Council and on the Council of Economic Advisers.
Kaisy, a Lawrence native whose journey to Pingree began as a member of Prep@Pingree’s second-ever class, navigated new settings and relationships beginning with her first bus ride to Pingree. (She had no idea Massachusetts had so many horse farms!) Seeking a post-Pingree path that would challenge her differently than college, Kaisy enlisted in the U.S. Army. In 2013, she deployed to Afghanistan with Joint Special Operations Command for nine months. As a human intelligence collector, Kaisy leveraged the same curiosity and adaptability she honed at Pingree to build rapport and discern key information about our military adversaries.
John’s crucible moment occurred during his time on Pingree’s football team. At the beginning of his senior year, he was approached about conceding his dream role as the team’s quarterback to a promising incoming student. After deep reflection, John transitioned to a new role on the team with a renewed understanding of leadership. The choice helped John to recognize a career-defining core value: prioritizing duty to his team over personal comfort. After Pingree, John attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, double-majoring in Defense & Strategic Studies and Persian Language. He later attended the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he acquired his Blackhawk ratings in 2016 before joining the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade in Fort Riley, Kansas. John’s Army aviation career spanned 20+ countries and multiple duty positions, including one combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2016 as a platoon leader for an assault helicopter company, one deployment to Romania and the greater Balkan region in 2018 as an operations officer, and one deployment to the Baltics in support of NATO’s strategic assurance and deterrence objectives as a commander for an assault helicopter company in 2021.
Now separated from the military, Jason, Kaisy, and John serve their country differently. Jason established 4 Liberty Consulting LLC, which creatively collaborates at the nexus of business, government, and academia. He also teaches at Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University and serves on Pingree’s board of trustees. Kaisy is now a supervisor at the TJX Companies Global Safety & Security Center, where she leads a team of six focused on critical and emergency management. She shared that she relied upon the relationships she built during her time in the military to safely transport three TJX employees to the United States following the 2020 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. She is also currently working on a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. John has embarked on a new career at Stryker Medical Devices, and we look forward to his return to Pingree as the J.V. boys hockey coach this winter.
As parting advice, these veterans advised students to define their core values, step outside of their comfort zones, and remain curious about the world around them. In particular, John encouraged students to commemorate Veterans’ Day by reaching out to a veteran to ask about their stories.
We extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have served and sacrificed for our country, especially those within our extended Pingree community.