The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to avoid large gatherings resulted in a different look for the commissioning of UVA Wise ROTC officers this spring. However, the U.S. Army and UVA Wise officials adhered to local and state guidelines regarding social distancing and held an intimate commissioning ceremony for some members of the families of Patrick Brooks and Catherine Dina, the two newest second lieutenants.

Captain Kyle Brenay, officer in charge of the commissioning ceremony, administered the oath to Brooks and Dina.

Brooks, who served as executive officer and company commander in the Cavalier Company, had his officer bars pinned by his grandmother Linda Harvey, and his girlfriend Megan Steffey. Brooks, who earned a bachelor of science degree in administration of justice, will join the Military Police Corps. Once he completes the Military Police Officer Basic Course, he will be assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Dina, who served as executive officer and company commander in the Cavalier Company, had her officer bars pinned by her mother Sara Dina, and retired Major Tracey Piazza. Dina earned a bachelor’s degree in communication. Upon completion of the Adjutant General Corps Basic Officer Course, she will be assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Ft. Riley, Kansas.

Dina received her first salute from retired Sgt. Thomas Scholl. Brooks received his first salute from his grandfathers, retired military men Adam Harvey and Danny Brooks.

Chancellor Donna P. Henry also offered encouragement and advice to the new officers. She asked them to think how the world has already changed in their own lifetime.

“In f act, reflect on how the world has already changed, practically overnight, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “You should be ready to adapt to these looming changes. They will surely come. They are already here, in fact. You will be leading soldiers in a period of crisis that we have not experienced in our lifetimes. I know you stand ready.”