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Chesapeake College to honor student, faculty, staff veterans

Nov. 8th event includes resource fair; Chick-fil-A sponsoring lunch for vets, guests

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College will recognize student, faculty, and staff service veterans on November 8th as part of the college’s Veterans Week activities.

The event, scheduled for 11 a.m. in the Caroline College Center cafeteria, will include presentation of certificates to each veteran, a lunch catered by Kent Island Chick-fil-A for the veterans and invited guests, and a veterans’ resource fair. A PowerPoint highlighting the service history of student, faculty and staff veterans, along with that of family members who have served in the military, will also be part of the program along with music provided by students from the college’s Early Childhood Development Center.

Guests include Jerry Boden, who is chief of staff to Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Edward Chow, Jr.; and Dick Sossi, who is community liaison for Congressman Andy Harris (D-1st).

"Chesapeake College’s student veteran population is increasing dramatically, and the college has a large contingent of employees who are also veterans," noted Dr. Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College’s president. "We want to recognize the important, and often dangerous, work these individuals performed on behalf of their community and their country."

Emily McAuley, marketing director for Kent Island’s Chick-fil-A, agreed.

"Chick-fil-A recognizes the hard work and sacrifices our veterans have made on our behalf," said McAuley. "We are pleased and proud to participate in this event."

Barnes & Noble, Safeway and the Chesapeake College Alumni are also event sponsors.

The number of students accessing veterans’ educational benefits at Chesapeake College increased 173 percent from Spring 2008 to Spring 2011, according to Maureen Conlon, who chairs the college’s Veterans Advisory Group. Conlon’s group, formed last year, was created to ensure appropriate services for veterans were in place or could be developed.

"We found we had most of the services veterans needed in place, but we had to make it easier for veterans to access those services," said Conlon, who is the college’s director of academic advising.

The college has created a student veterans club, developed a brochure for student veterans that included contacts and veteran resources, enhanced its veterans webpage, designated veterans contact people in all service areas, and created an information packet aimed specifically at new student veterans.

"We’ve done a lot in the past year to make the transition to college easier for veterans, but there are more things we need to do," said Conlon, who indicated a staff position that would be the contact point for all student veterans’ issues is a long-term goal.

Jennifer Dunker, the college’s student veterans certifying official, will be at the resource fair along with Guido DeLuca, Chesapeake’s director of career services, and representatives of the Veterans Service Program and Claims Assistance, the local Veterans Employment representative, Operation White Tail, and the Woman’s Auxiliary for VFW Post 5118.

The public is welcome to attend the 11 a.m. recognition ceremony.

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