Former Navy SEAL Lieutenant and Chesapeake entrepreneur Jason Redman will be the keynote speaker for Tidewater Community College’s 54th commencement at 7 p.m. on May 11 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Jason RedmanNearly 1,800 TCC students will earn associate degrees or certificates on that evening, and many are current and former military members. In fall 2011, more than 10,000 students attending TCC were on active duty, were military veterans or were family members of military veterans. TCC established its Center for Military and Veterans Education in 2011 to provide focused support to the college’s military-related population.

Redman founded Wounded Wear, a nonprofit organization that provides free clothing and clothing modification to wounded warriors and works to raise national awareness of the sacrifices made by the U.S. military.

While serving in Iraq in 2007, Redman was seriously injured, shot twice in the arm and once in the face. While recovering at the National Naval Medical Center, the handwritten sign that hung on his hospital room door became a statement and symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. The sign read:

Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.

The sign, which earned Redman an opportunity to meet President George W. Bush at the White House, currently hangs in the Wounded Ward at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Redman’s military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (five awards) and Combat Action Ribbon (two awards).