Salute To Service: Steve York
Nov. 10, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney
This November, as Sam Houston State University observes Veterans Day, meet the campus vets that have exemplified the university motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” in our Salute to Service Series.
York is a senior engineering technology major, business minor, and a United States Navy veteran. He worked as a gas turbines electrician and completed over 20 years of military service. He served on the USS Hue City/CG-66, USS Milius/DDG-69, Assault Craft Unit 4, and was a Navy recruiter. During this time, he lived in Chicago, Illinois, Mayport, Florida, Little Creek, Virginia and San Diego, California.
T@S: Why did you choose to join the military?
SY: Aside from familial tradition, I joined the military for the college benefits. Once I completed my job training, the thrill of my career path kept me enlisting for additional years because I enjoyed the job.
T@S: Reason for coming to SHSU?
SY: I came to SHSU because Huntsville is my hometown and when I retired from the military I returned home; both, my wife and I have family here. SHSU has become our family alma mater. My wife was a student here, our son played football here from 2012-2015 before graduating with his bachelor’s degree, my attending Sam was only natural. It is a place that is overflowing with history. I remember going to the duck pond as a youth growing up in Huntsville and still today, I enjoy having lunch there while watching the animals.
T@S: How do you feel about veterans being considered a minority group on campus?
SY: I don’t have any particular feelings about us being considered a minority group on campus. The pure fact of the matter is most people choose not to serve. I think it’s because many folks have no idea how beneficial serving in the military can be for both personal growth and self-discovery.
T@S: Are your peers aware of your military past?
SY: No. I don’t think any of my instructors are even aware that I am a veteran. They just see this old guy in class and don’t think much of it.
T@S: What do you want your civilian peers to know about your service?
SY: I am a fellow student that is also a proud veteran, with over twenty years of military service.
T@S: Do you think people have misconceptions about you?
SY: Not really. I believe that I am simply just another face in the crowd.
T@S: How has your service history impacted your academic life?
SY: My service background has allowed me to not get stressed when it comes to meeting deadlines. When the course load gets heavy, I know that it’s important to stay organized because that helps me prioritize more effectively. My service has also allowed me to not worry about finances as much because I am able to use my military benefits to fund my education. This reduces stress and gives me an advantage financially post-graduation.
T@S: Do you think you can identify a vet by appearance?
SY: I believe that sometimes a veteran can be picked out by appearance because we are typically older than the average student.
T@S: Do you have a hard time relating to your peers?
SY: Yes, there are times when it can be a bit difficult because we are from two different generations. The students that I am attending with are younger than my own children.
T@S: How has SHSU aided in your transition?
SY: The Veterans Resource Center has made it easy for veterans to maneuver the system and use our military benefits. Additionally, they are good at keeping us up-to-date with changes as they occur. This allows me to focus my attention primarily on academics.
T@S: Are there specific programs at SHSU for veterans?
SY: Yes. There are programs to assist financially with the costs of attending. The Military Science Program at SHSU is available to those interested, qualified individuals. At SHSU, veterans can reach out to the Collegiate Veterans Association to assist with transition into college life.
T@S: Future goals?
SY: I have considered many things, but I will more than likely graduate, get a job and shoot for a second retirement in a career field that I enjoy.
T@S: Anything that you would like to say/add about your time serving?
SY: I am third generation military and my youngest son carried on the family tradition when he recently joined the Navy. It was an exciting career choice and gave me and my family exposure to different cultures and people. It has definitely benefited my children because it made them grow into more social people who adapt to situations quickly because we moved regularly.
T@S: What does, “The measure of a Life is its Service” mean to you?
SY: It means that a worthwhile life is one that is spent in the service of other people and things that are larger than one’s own individual self. People that have a willingness to serve are the ones that truly make the biggest differences in the world in which we all live. When I get to the end of my life, it’s important for me to know that I have done everything that I possibly could do to make the world a better place for my fellow man and our future generations. A life that has been used for service is one that will transcend beyond its own natural timeframe.
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