Riverside National Cemetery Bids Welcome to New Assistant Director, Farewell to Foreman
Lynnette Parker and Roderick Thomas
Riverside, CA — Riverside National Cemetery is in the midst of some significant changes to its management team with the arrival of a new assistant director and the departure of a foreman for a very special assignment.
Lynnette Parker has joined the RNC team as assistant director. Parker comes to Riverside from Los Angeles National Cemetery where she was director.
In her new position, Parker will assist RNC Director Dean Moline in all administrative, maintenance and burial services and perpetual care for military Veterans and eligible family members.
Prior to Los Angeles, Parker served as director of Florence National Cemetery in South Carolina and an assistant director at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan. She entered the National Cemetery Administration in 2006 through the comprehensive year-long cemetery director intern program.
A Veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve, Parker served eight years including three years on active duty where she held the position of Navy funeral honors coordinator. In this position, she performed nearly 1,500 military funeral honors ceremonies and trained more than 50 volunteers to perform military honors.
Parker’s military and Veteran heritage goes way back, however. The daughter of a former U.S. Marine, Parker was born at the Navy hospital at Balboa, Calif.
While Parker settles into her new duties at RNC, interment foreman Roderick Thomas is packing his bags for a very special assignment within the National Cemetery Administration. He recently learned that he has been selected to attend the NCA cemetery director intern program. Thomas will report for the year-long program in St. Louis July 16.
The program focuses on preparing employees to manage and operate cemeteries as national shrines to the service and sacrifice of America’s deceased veterans and military personnel.
Thomas began the application process in 2010. He was one of 476 applicants. While awaiting the various stages of the process, he enrolled in other cemetery operation training programs in an effort to make himself a more desirable candidate. He also completed work and was awarded a masters degree in business management. The extra effort was rewarded when two weeks ago, he learned that he will be one of 11 members entering the next intern class.
Prior to coming to RNC five years ago, Thomas retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a master sergeant. He began as a cemetery caretaker. He next served as a heavy equipment operator before being promoted to his current position. As interment foreman, he manages the cemetery crew responsible for the dignified burial last year of more than 8,500 Veterans and their loved ones.
Upon graduation from the intern program, Thomas will be assigned as an assistant director at one of the 131 national cemeteries across the country. Thomas is the third RNC staffer to attend the intern program in the past two years. Martha Rankin and Kimberly Brockman graduated from the same class a year ago. Rankin is the director of Baltimore National Cemetery and Brockman is assistant to the director of Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota.
Thomas attributes RNC’s success to the support that future directors receive from RNC’s senior management before and throughout the application process.
Opened in 1978, Riverside National Cemetery is the third largest but the most active of the 131 cemeteries managed by the National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. RNC averages 35 services a day, Monday – Friday. Last year, RNC committed more than 8,500 veterans and their loved ones to their final resting place.