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SHSU To Salute Servicemen, Women During Vet Week

Nov. 5, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Aubrie Walker

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The Sam Houston State University Veterans Resource Center will join forces with the other campus organizations Nov. 11-15 to salute America’s troops and honor veterans with a week full of opportunities that will help those who have returned home to succeed.

Leading up to the official “Veterans Week at Sam,” Kappa Sigma fraternity and Alpha Delta Pi sorority will be accepting donations in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area for yellow ribbons that will commemorate the service of current military personnel and veterans. The yellow ribbons will be displayed on trees around campus during veterans’ week and all donations collected will benefit the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.

“Yellow ribbons are a symbol of tribute to the men and women who serve in military around the world and are generally recognized as a symbol that we ‘support our troops,’” said Fernando Chavez, VRC manager. “Students, faculty and staff members should take part in making a donation for a yellow ribbon to show their support for the brave men and women who are serving our country. I would go out on a limb to say we all know someone who has served or is still serving in the military today.”

Donations will be collected through Friday (Nov. 8).

Also before the week kicks off, SHSU’s Army ROTC Bearkat Battalion will have “Military Appreciation Day” at Bowers Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 9), when the Bearkat football team takes on Nicholls State.

Approximately 300 JROTC cadets from area schools have been invited to attend the game for free, and SHSU will recognize service members from all branches of the military, including active duty, reserve and retirees.

“We have been honoring our servicemen and women and local first responders all year long at the home football games through the Huntsville Heroes program, on behalf of Sam Houston State University, Army ROTC and Bearkat Football,” said Lt. Col. Robert McCormick, chair of the SHSU Military Science department.

At 8 a.m. on Monday (Nov. 11), Veterans Week at Sam activities will officially launch with “The Great Bearkat Salute,” when trees around the clock tower will be covered with the yellow ribbons and “The Star Spangled Banner,” by John Stafford Smith, will be played on the Blatchley Bell Tower.

At 11 a.m., the Bearkat Battalion will pay tribute to SHSU’s veterans, past and present, with a ceremony in front of the main flagpoles outside the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

Retired Navy pilot Wayne Keen, who is the chair of the veterans board for the City of Huntsville, will be the guest speaker, and other invited guests will include SHSU President Dana Gibson, Huntsville mayor Mac Woodward, city council members, the local Veterans of Foreign War and American Legion commanders, and members from all of the local veterans groups.

“Armistice Day for World War I ended on Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., so we will commemorate that by having a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11,” McCormick said.

After the ceremony, the local American Legion will host a free luncheon for veterans at Sam Houston Post 95, on International Drive in Huntsville, and the HEARTS Veterans Museum will host a Veterans Day Dinner at 6:30 p.m., coinciding with their silent auction to raise scholarship money for SHSU’s ROTC cadets.

Vet Week FlierOn Tuesday (Nov. 12), activities designed to aid SHSU’s veteran population will begin, when from 3-5 p.m. in the LSC Theater, the Student Health Center and Kappa Sigma will host Carla R. Maddox, a licensed clinical social worker, who will discuss PTSD, depression, and suicide prevention for veterans.

There are approximately 800 veteran students taking classes on the SHSU campus, and because 11-to-20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are believed to experience PTSD-related issues, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD website, this presentation will be beneficial for all veterans and current ROTC cadets, Chavez said.

Another cause of PTSD can be military sexual trauma, which includes any sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurs while in the military.

MST can happen to both men and women and can occur during peacetime, training, or war, and, among veterans using VA health care, about 23 percent of women reported sexual assault when in the military. Fifty-five percent of women and 38 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment when in the military, the National Center for PTSD reports.

“Even though military sexual trauma is far more common in women veterans, over half of all veterans with military sexual trauma are men,” the report said. “This is because there are many more male veterans than there are females.”

On Wednesday (Nov. 13), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LSC Ballroom, the VRC will host a Veterans Resource Fair, where various agencies and speakers will discuss resources such as veterans’ education benefits, health care, and financial planning. There will also be a chance to sign up with the Veterans Affairs medical system.

“Signing up with VA medical services allows veterans to visit VA hospitals and or clinics, which offer services at a reduced cost compared to regular doctors or hospitals,” Chavez said. “There are a lot of resources available for vets to take advantage of, and they also can learn about all of those during the Vet Fair.”

On Thursday (Nov. 14), the Veterans Resource Center will offer a mingling opportunity through “Grillin’ and Chillin’, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., when veterans grab a lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and sweets and check out the new VRC office, in Academic Building III Room 116.

To end the week, the VRC will honor Bearkat Spirit Fridays by encouraging everyone to wear orange and camouflage to show support and pride for Sam Houston veterans.

These activities and the many others hosted throughout the year are among the reasons SHSU was awarded a “Military Friendly Schools” designation in September.

The designation is awarded to the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation, according to MilitaryFriendly.com.

For the MFS rankings, more than 4,000 student veterans were surveyed and provided insight into the student veteran experience at particular institutions.

“It is a big deal, being selected as a ‘Military Friendly School,” Chavez said. “It is the whole university getting selected, not just the Veterans Resource Center but everyone from our president, to faculty and staff, and to our students.

“It is something the school should be very proud of,” he said.

Other annual and upcoming support activities regularly hosted at SHSU include the “Carry the Load” Military Ruck March, which raises funds for the Warrior and Family Support Center at the Brooke Army Medical Center, the Walker County Sheriff's Department, and the Huntsville Volunteer Fire Department; the “Adopt-a-Bearkat Program,” which will provide care packages for the approximately 45 Bearkat alumni serving overseas during the holidays; and the “Military Appreciation Days” at Bearkat sporting events, among others.

“The outstanding support provided by this university and the Huntsville community to veterans is overwhelming; it can be attributed to the large number of local veterans in the community, and it is that very support of their service that attracts veterans to this wonderful community and university,” McCormick said. “We are extremely proud to be a part of a community that values selfless service and honors military veterans and first responders.”

Some veterans week activities will require students to present their Bearkat OneCards, so students should bring them to each event.

For more information on the Military Friendly designation, visit militaryfriendly.com and for more information about Veterans Week at Sam contact Chavez at 936.294.1046 or veterans@shsu.edu or on the Tuesday PTSD presentation, contact Student Health Center programming coordinator Lisa Clarkson at 936.294.4347.



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