Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Geraldine (Jeri) Diehl has an extensive background in volunteering with military veterans and their families. Her experience began when her husband, Bob, was advised to apply for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration in 2009. Bob is a United States Marine Corps Vietnam Combat Veteran. The Diehl’s experienced many frustrating challenges causing Jeri to investigate ways to help ease the burden for other veterans and their families. Bob joined a veteran’s service organization, the Gwinnett County DAV, in April 2011. Jeri was recruited to charter the first auxiliary unit (DAVA) for the Gwinnett DAV chapter. The Gwinnett DAV Auxiliary unit was chartered in December 2011. DAV Auxiliary units were initially organized in 1922, with membership restricted to wives and blood relatives of DAV chapter members. Jeri served as the Gwinnett County DAV Auxiliary Charter Commander from December 2011 to June 2014. She stepped down when elected as the Georgia State DAV Auxiliary Senior Vice Commander, 2014-2015. While serving as the Gwinnett County DAVA Unit Commander and promoting the services of the DAV and DAVA throughout Gwinnett County, in August 2012, Jeri was recruited to become an AmeriCorps VISTA through the nonprofit organization, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). The Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services is a member of CADCA and won a grant to establish a VetCorps group to organize local businesses and organizations to benefit military veterans. Jeri became an AmeriCorps VISTA in November 2012, learning and absorbing new information about nonprofit organizations, volunteerism, and volunteer management within one year. In addition, Jeri took advantage of the AmeriCorps graduate-level courses available to VISTAs on volunteerism and volunteer management during her time in service. The outcome of Jeri’s experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA is the Gwinnett County Veterans Resource Center (GVRC), established in 2014, that continues to serve military veterans and their families actively. Jeri served as the resource center director for one year and stepped down in March 2015 to give her full attention as the Georgia DAV Auxiliary State Commander, June 2015 – June 2016. Jeri did not attend college before marrying young and raising three sons; instead, she attended as a non-traditional student, beginning her academic tenure in August 2017. On May 13, 2021, Jeri graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College Summa Cum Laude with a major in Human Development and Aging Services and a minor in Religious Studies. Jeri’s interest in religious studies comes from her desire to understand diverse cultures better. Jeri and Bob have been married 48 years. They have three grown sons who are all living independent, productive, law-abiding lives. Among their three sons, they have eight grandchildren ranging in age from 6 to 15.