Board of Directors - Member
A one word summary of James "J.C." Coleman’s life is soldier. Born as the fourth child in a family of fifteen siblings in 1942 in Waynesboro, Georgia, he was destined to be a champion in competitions. He attended a segregated high school, and grew up during the era when laws that denied Blacks the right to vote were still on the books. J.C. was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963 and his quest to excel as a soldier propelled him to the rank of Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned officers’ rank, before he retired in 1989. It was during his life in the military that J.C. showed exceptional ability to work with people of diverse backgrounds. He served as a drill sergeant and trained recruits to become soldiers. He was the first African American to serve as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Indiana State National Guard. He was also the first African American to serve as Senior Enlisted Instructor for the Army ROTC Department of the University of Missouri – Columbia. J.C. served in Germany, Hawaii, Alaska, Vietnam, Korea, and throughout most of the Continental United States. He has received numerous meritorious military service awards; including the Soldier’s Medal for quick courageous actions without regard for his own safety to save a trainee who dropped a hand grenade, the Combat Infantryman Medal for service in Vietnam, and the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in combat during his first tour in Vietnam.
While exhibiting his abilities to interact amicably with people, his competitive skills won trophies in military sports activities such as softball, baseball and bowling. His bowling success continued into civilian life, earning him recognition in the Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri.
Following J.C.’s military career, he worked in the Inner City Bus Ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church from 1998-2008. Currently he serves as Associate Pastor of All Nations Community Church in Lynchburg, VA. His wife, Emma, works as Administrative Assistant for the church. They have three children and five grandchildren. J.C.’s desire to be a courageous and outstanding soldier served the country well, and that dedication readily transferred to being a good soldier for the Lord.