Giving Our Thanks: WIU Honors Service Members and Veterans

Veterans Day is on Sunday, and WIU has been honoring service members and veterans all week. From handing out yellow ribbons at the University Union to hosting community luncheons, WIU has been showing its appreciation to all members of the military, both past and present.

Kathy Meyers, assistant director of the Veterans Resource Center, explained that instead of having the usual one-to-two day celebration, WIU has made it a week. “The sacrifices of our service members and our veterans get little in comparison to what appreciation they deserve,” Meyers said. “I hear stories, and I work every day with veterans…it certainly is a way to influence awareness. It’s a way for us to express our appreciation.”

Today at 11 a.m., WIU officially observed Veterans Day at Sherman Hall, where a tribute ceremony was given to honor veterans and service members. Several speakers were present including WIU President Jack Thomas, WIU Veterans Club President and Illinois Army National Guard member Carlos Ortiz, Vice President for Student Services Gary Biller, and others. Meyers said, “The awareness is very important. It’s just giving a little bit back to know more about the sacrifices they make. It’s also a great time to honor the fallen…their ultimate sacrifices they paid to defend our country,” she said.

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 10, there will be the inaugural Fallen Soldiers 5K Run/Walk. Meyers explained, “The 5K is phenomenal. The Veterans Resource Center, Employee Wellness, Alumni House, Campus Recreation, Veterans Club, and many other groups, departments, and organizations on campus are sponsoring [or helping with] our first Fallen Soldiers 5K run/walk.” Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. at the east terrace of the Spencer Student Recreation Center.

Meyers said that the run is in honor of WIU alumni Capt. Derek Dobogai and Lt. Col. Robert Baldwin who were killed in the line of duty. After registration, at 7:30 a.m., Meyers said a tribute will be given for all soldiers who have been killed at war. “We plan to present three wreathes in memory of the two soldiers,” she said. “The third will be presented for all fallen soldiers.” By 8 a.m., the run will begin.

Following the run, the WIU Leathernecks will be showing their appreciation. The WIU Leatherneck Veterans Appreciation football game begins at 1 p.m.  Meyers said the football team will be wearing special uniforms in honor of service members and veterans; the players will debut their new camouflage jerseys at tomorrow’s game.

In the community Saturday , the Elks Lodge will host a social for service members and veterans from 4-8 p.m. The Macomb Elks Lodge is located at 401 Deer Road, Macomb, IL. On Sunday, the Macomb VFW will have their own Veterans Day Ceremony and will be serving soup and sandwiches at 10:30 a.m.

All weekend at the University Union Bookstore, there will be a 20% discount for veterans or service members who show their military ID. They are invited to come by and get any Leatherneck gear at a great price.

As you can read, WIU is hosting a wonderful weekend with lots of fun events in honor of veterans. Everyone at the university thanks all our service members and veterans! If you see a veteran or service member this weekend, they are owed a thank you for their service to our country. For more information about this weekend’s events, visit http://www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=10243. If you want more information about WIU’s Veterans Resource Center, visit http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/veterans/.

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