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Veterans Emphasis Program (VEP) in Washington

Shelly Lassiter, (509) 323.2987
Washington's Veterans Emphasis Program Manager

Shelly Lassiter

My name is Shelly Lassiter. I’m Washington’s Veteran’s Special Emphasis Program Manager (VEPM) as part of the Civil Rights Advisory Committee (CRAC). This collateral duty focuses on issues such as employment, retention, promotion, training, career development, and advancement opportunities affecting veteran applicants and employees at NRCS.

As a part of the last half of the "baby boomers" generation, nearly everyone I knew while growing up was somehow affiliated with military service either at home or abroad. I learned early that "Freedom isn't Free". It is from this deep appreciation of our service personnel that I dedicate time to those who protect our country’s founding values and to honor those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom.

As a lifetime member of the American Legion Auxiliary, I tell others about the significance of respecting our flag as a symbol of our great nation. Auxiliary members pledge to do this by providing care and comfort to our veterans and by encouraging all Americans to live out their patriotism with a sense of pride for this land we call home. 

In my NRCS capacity, I am a resource conservationist on the Ecological Sciences staff. I started my SCS-NRCS career in Minnesota in 1983 where I served at 2 duty stations before moving to Washington in 1986. During my time in WA I have had many great work assignments, made many good friends and continue to thoroughly enjoy my work, helping people help the land.

I encourage all WA NRCS employees who have military service time to provide me with your service branch and tour dates. I would like to include you in our network of professional support and raise the level of awareness of veteran’s issues and concerns.

Program Goals:

The Veterans Emphasis Program is an integral part of the overall equal employment opportunity (EEO) program and is designed to—

  • Ensure that veterans receive equal treatment in all aspects of employment.
  • Increase the number of veterans employed in all professional, administrative, technical, clerical, and other categories, series, and grade levels.
  • Provide opportunities to participate in training, career development, and leadership programs.
  • Encourage the participation of veterans in all NRCS-sponsored programs and activities.
  • Provide a network of professional support for veterans.
  • Provide mentoring support to veterans in the workforce.
  • Educate all NRCS employees by raising the level of awareness of veteran issues and concerns.

Significant days and observances for the United States Armed Forces


  • Four Chaplains Day - A day set aside to honor the four U.S. Army chaplains who gave their lives to save others when the troop ship USAT Dorchester sank during World War II. Learn more...
  • President's Day ­ A day originally set aside to honor George Washington. Now, other presidents are also honored on this day. Learn more...
  •  Coast Guard Reserve Birthday


  • Navy Reserve Birthday
  • Seabee Birthday
  • Military and Veterans Caregiver Week (dates TBD) - A week when Americans recognize and honor military caregivers’ sacrifices and successes. Learn more...
  •  K 9 Veterans Day (date TBD) - A national effort to make March 13 K9 Veterans
    . March 13, 1942 is the official birthday of the United States K9 Corps, and so it seems only right to annually honor their service on that date. They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered. Learn more...
  • Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day - A day set aside to show honor and respect to our Vietnam Veterans and to say "Welcome home."


  • Month of the Military Child - An opportunity to recognize military children and youth for their heroism, character, courage, sacrifices and continued resilience. Learn more...
  •  Gold Star Wives Day - A day set aside to recognize the sacrifices of Gold Star wives. LINK - Organizations that support Gold Star Families
  •  Air Force Reserve Birthday
  •  Army Reserve Birthday


  • National Military Appreciation Month - A month which recognize and show appreciation to the Armed Forces of the United States of America. Learn more...
  • Loyalty Day - A day set aside for American citizens to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.  Learn more...
  • Silver Star Service Banner Day - A day set aside to honor our wounded, ill and dying military personnel by participating in flying a Silver Star Banner.  Learn more...
  • National Day of Prayer - The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Learn more...  How can you pray for the military community? Learn more...
  • VE (Victory in Europe) Day - (Celebrated May 7 in commonwealth countries)
     A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies' victory in Europe during World War II on May 8, 1945. Learn more...
  • Military Spouse Appreciation Day - A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more...  LINK - Practical insights in caring for a military home front family
  • Children of Fallen Patriots Day - (Awaiting 2015 info) Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots), is partnering with cities across the country in declaring May 13 as Children of Fallen Patriots Day. Learn more...
  • Armed Forces Day - A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’ Armed Forces. Learn more...
  • Memorial Day (Decoration Day) - A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the UnitedStates. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries. Learn more...




  • Coast Guard Birthday
  • Purple Heart Day - National Purple Heart Day honors the men and women who have been wounded or killed in military service.
  • Marine Forces Reserve Birthday



  • Columbus Day - A day set aside to commemorate Christopher Columbus' arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492. Learn more...
  • Navy Birthday
  • National Day of the Deployed - A day set aside to honor all of the brave men and woman who have been deployed and are sacrificing, or have sacrificed, their lives to fight for our country and acknowledges their families that they are separated from. Learn more...


  •  USPS deadlines for military Christmas holiday mail
  •  Military Family Month - A month to honor and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of the families of the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more...
  • Marine Corps Birthday
  • Armistice Day / Veterans Day  - The anniversary date of the signing of the armistice which ended the World War I. Also a day set aside to thank military veterans for their service. Learn more...



  • Alive Day - Commemorates the day a Veteran suffered near-fatal battlefield injuries yet managed to survive. Learn more...
  • Red Shirt Friday (RED - Remembering Everyone Deployed) - Wear a red shirt on Friday to show support of our service men and women.  Learn more..