SJC Long Island honored service members past and present during its annual Veterans Day Celebration in the McGann Conference Center during common hour, which kicked off Veterans Awareness Week on campus.
“We’re blessed with having so many veterans here with us today, and we thank you all for your service to our nation,” said Ralph Nofi, assistant professor of business administration and marketing, who served in the U.S. Army. “Today marks the 75th anniversary of the G.I. Bill, which originally served veterans returning home from World War II, and which continues to serve veterans today.”
The Challenge Coin, presented to both student veterans and veterans from the local community to thank them for their service, commemorates that anniversary.
Honored to Serve
“I’m honored to have served,” said SJC Long Island student Samuel Clark, a U.S. Army vet who enlisted in 2011 and who served a year in Afghanistan. “For all the veterans who feel the same way, I just want to say thank you — thank you to the veterans who came before me and made the military what it is, and thank you to those who are still serving.”
George Poulos, president of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter at SJC Long Island, thanked the veterans in the audience for attending.
“I’m grateful you all chose to spend part of your day here with us,” said Polous, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013, and who is now a sophomore majoring in criminal justice. “Being a veteran at St. Joseph’s College has provided me with a very unique experience. I never got to see what it was like on the other side while serving my country. Now that I’ve returned, it’s nice to see what everyone was pursuing in their careers while we were away fighting.”
Alongside Polous, Alan Vitters, Ph.D., retired colonel of the U.S. Army and assistant professor of business administration and marketing, as well as the founder of the SVA chapter on campus, presented the Challenge Coins to the nearly 100 veterans in attendance.
“Be proud of your service and remember to share your story,” Dr. Vitters said. “Not just today, but as frequently as you can. Make people aware of your sacrifices and what you did on active duty. I would like to ask faculty here to try to involve these veterans more in your class to help get that conversation going.”
Continue the Celebration
Members of the SJC Long Island community are invited to continue learning more about student veterans and those who serve throughout the week. Find out more about Veterans Awareness Week here.