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Day of reflection, Veterans Day, honored throughout week’s events

November 8, 2012

Veterans Day is Nov. 11 and throughout the week there will be scheduled events to celebrate the dedication of the veterans throughout the community.

“It’s a time of reflection,” said Nicole Lillis, manager of the veteran’s program. “It’s a time to honor those alive and dead whom have served our country.”

Lillis is a veteran herself, along with other members of her family. She said that she is very proud to have served her country. Lillis said that she enjoys working with Veteran Services because it allows her to assist other veterans with their schooling and other support they may need.

The Veteran Services office is located in 220 South Hall and always welcomes veterans with an open door and encouragement.

Veterans are free to come in and talk with other vets as well as take advantage of the services they offer.

A specialized therapist sign-up for healthcare  is available for veterans every week.

“It’s good to know that there is a place on campus for support,” said Maxwell Popp, a veteran of the United States Army and student on campus. “We are non-traditional students so it can be difficult some times.”

For Popp and fellow Army veteran, Heather Schroeder, Veterans Day gives them an opportunity to reflect on their time in the military as well as remember those they served with, and with friends who are currently serving.

“Veterans Day is more of a celebration of what we have done,” said Popp. “It’s not as somber as Memorial Day.”

The vets agreed that although they still make sure to set aside time for remembrance of the fallen soldiers on Veterans Day, they also use it to celebrate their time in the military by sharing their experiences.

Along with Veteran Services, there is also a Veterans Club on campus, which Lillis is the advisor for.

“They do a lot of work for Habitat for Humanity and just try and get veterans involved on campus,” said Lillis. “It’s not just for vets on campus, but also for their families as well.”

At 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, there will be a Veterans Day program in front of North Hall, where Student Senate Vice President and Army veteran Matthew Hobbs will speak.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, there will be Breakfast with the Chancellor for Chancellor Dean Van Galen to speak with student veterans and their families.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in front of the University Center the Veterans Center van will be providing information to the public about veterans and assisting with healthcare set-up for veterans.

There will be an equine program held for vets on 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.

UWRF veterans will meet with UW-Eau Claire veterans at Trinity Equestrian Center to learn about the equine program they have for vets.

Along with this list of events, Lillis explained that there would also be American Flags placed in the UC Mall as well.

Popp and Schroeder agreed that these planned events help bring attention to veterans and allow them to reach out to campus and the community.

Schroeder stated that it could be difficult as a veteran at UW-River Falls due to the age difference among peers in the classroom and also because of the location on UWRF.
“For me, it’s where we are located in the nation,” said Schroeder. “There isn’t a base near by so it’s hard to connect with people.”

However, Schroeder went on to explain that having the Veteran Services Office and Veterans Club on campus gives her and other veterans somewhere to turn to for support.

“Veterans come into the office and talk about their day, it doesn’t have to be military related even,” said Schroeder. Not only are Popp and Schroeder veterans themselves, but they also work for the Veterans Service Office and find it satisfying to be able to help fellow veterans.

“I’m helping them with their benefits, I’m helping them be successful with their lives,” said Schroeder. “They’ve earned it.”

UWRF will have 30 veterans graduating in May and the Veterans Service Office get more veterans coming into the office ever semester.

“We are very happy with that number,” she said.

Lillis, Schroeder and Popp all agreed that having the success in graduating is one of the main goals that the Veterans Service Office strives for, providing them with the support that they need to be successful and receive their diploma.