Giving Thanks for Veterans

%28Photo+by+Chris+Samuels%29

(Photo by Chris Samuels)

(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)

 
Thanksgiving in the military might be different than the traditional turkey and sweet potatoes, but the Veterans Support Center is making sure those serving the country will have a Thanksgiving dinner.
The Veterans Support Center at the U has been in operation since May 2011. Roger Perkins, director for the Veterans Support Center, said he is fulfilling needs of veteran students across campus.
“The U saw a need to serve the trend of veterans going to school,” Perkins said. “We needed to be more cognizant to serve our veteran students who go to the U. We had different areas for veteran students to go, but now it is all centralized in a one-stop shop.”
Recognizing that veterans are serving America’s citizens is important to remember and to appreciate, Perkins said.
“Veterans go where others are afraid to go and do what others are afraid to do,” he said. “Not everyone can be in the military physically or physiologically, but if they can, we need to respect and recognize the ones who join and stand up and say that they will serve. They took the responsibility off our shoulders.”
Kira Van Dyke, a freshman in ballet and forensic anthropology, said she thinks having a Veterans Support Center is perfect for those who are students and veterans.
“I think there is inadequate awareness of how people are treated when they come home,” Van Dyke said. “It’s nice to have a support system at the U because a lot of times they aren’t provided with what they need after their service.”
It is not always easy to provide meals for the troops, but Perkins said it is made possible every year.
“The military bends over backwards to take care of the troops during Thanksgiving,” Perkins said. “It might be greasy or cold, but they’ll get a Thanksgiving meal overseas.”
Many troops will not be able to be with their families for Thanksgiving.
“For the families at home, be aware that there is someone missing and have more consideration and a helping hand for what they are going through,” Perkins said. “Nothing can replace a person who is not there.”
Van Dyke said she thinks being “supportive” is really all one can do when a family has someone overseas.
“We need to be inclusive and offer to help and make sure they feel that they have people who support them,” she said.
During the holidays, Perkins said he believes that although there isn’t a service project through the U specifically for veterans, students step up and serve regardless.
“During this time you really see students who are doing things for their buddies, for fellow students who are veterans or who have someone they love in the military,” said Perkins.
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@JulianneSkivan