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Lunch ‘N’ Learn to host author on Nov. 7 at library

VALLEY — In celebration of Veterans Day, the Bradshaw-Chambers County Library will host a Lunch ‘N’ Learn program on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and the program will follow at noon. Dr. Terry Harrison, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, will be addressing “an open the door to an early learning environment while building lasting connections in the military.”

In particular, he will be talking about two books he has authored. They are “Climbing the Ivory Tower: 101 to 999” and “The Military Education Participation Scale (MEPS).”

“The Ivory Tower” recounts his journey from being a freshman at Alabama State University in 1969 (101) to earn a Ph.D. at Kansas State University (999).

In his most recent book, Dr. Harrison relates the struggles active duty service members encounter while trying to continue with their higher education while deployed to austere, remote locations around the world.

Harrison is a native of the Fairfax community and a 1968 graduate of Rehobeth High School. He displayed a love for learning at a very early age.

“The first school I attended was a two-room house on Peterson Street,” he recalled. “It was only four blocks away from my house.”

At the time, the first two grades were taught in that house. When children reached the third grade, they could go to Rehobeth.

“Everybody loved Mr. Burns, his wife, too,” Harrison said. “Susie Burns was the best English teacher I ever had.”

In his freshman year at Alabama State, Harrison became involved in the civil rights movement.

“It was a difficult period,” he said. “I won’t ever forget it. Alabama State has a beautiful display about it in the Levi Watkins Learning Center.”

Harrison went on to earn a degree in history from ASU, an associate’s in recreational management from the Community College of the Air Force, a master’s in liberal arts from TCU, a master’s degree in continuing education and a doctorate in adult continuing education and occupational leadership at Kansas State.

He was the first African American student to earn an Ed.D at KSU. He went on to teach at Butler County Community College, TCU, the University of Maryland and Kuwait University. Harrison’s tours of duty included stays at Carswell Air Force Base in Texas, Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, McConnell AFB in Kansas, Remini Air Base in Italy and Lakenheath Air Base in England.

Harrison is something of a renaissance man, having acted in the movie “No Bad Luck” and been a gospel recording artist, performing with such well-known acts as Dr. James Cleveland and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama.

He recently relocated to Lanett and is looking forward to speaking at the upcoming Lunch N Learn event. Following his talk, he will be signing copies of “Climbing the Ivory Tower and the Military Education Participation Scale.”

Harrison sees the MEPS concept as a win-win for the student, the military and higher education.

“It helps the active-duty soldier by allowing them to continue their education,” he said. “It helps colleges and universities to maintain their student military enrollment without a break in their studies, and the military has a more knowledgeable soldier.”

Harrison’s late wife, Patricia Robinson, was from West Point.

Anyone interested in attending the program can make a lunch reservation by calling (334) 768-2161 or emailing programs@chamberscountylibrary.org or by visiting the Chambers County Library page on Facebook.