Allison Milton/The AS Review
At 7 p.m. on May 26 in AW 204, the AS Veteran’s Outreach Center (VOC) will host Serving our Soldiers: Military and Peace Communities Working Together. The event will discuss the ways people can support veterans in the community.
The event, which is also sponsored by the Veterans Outreach and Support Network and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, will feature a panel of speakers that will discuss how the community can support and encourage veterans when they return home.
Paul Wright, VOC coordinator, said the event will discuss the differences between the experiences of the group of veterans returning home from the Iraq War and the experiences of older veterans.
“Everybody has their own ideology about veterans,” he said. “There are all these different groups participating in the event, but the one thing that everyone has in common is that we all care about veterans.”
There are four confirmed speakers on the panel. Rick Hamilton, coordinator of the Whatcom County Veteran Assistance Fund, will speak about veteran history and examine the generational divisions among veterans. Paul Wentland, service officer for American Legion Post #7, will discuss new ways to bridge the gap between young and old veterans. Gene Marx, coordinator of Veterans for Peace Chapter 111, will speak about the relationship between veterans and the peace community. Marie Marchand, executive director of the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, will talk about the history of peace movements involving veterans. There will also be a question and answer session after the panel to give audience members an opportunity to participate in the discussion.
Wright said there are a lot more veterans on campus than one would assume and that it is important to learn how to support them.
“This is an opportunity for students on campus to meet other students who have served, ask questions and learn about ways to help and support veterans,” Wright said.
Two days before the panel event, the VOC will host an opportunity for students to get outside, eat some food and enjoy the sun—that is, if it’s out. At 11 a.m. on May 24 at Boulevard Park, the VOC is hosting the annual Memorial Day barbecue.
Wright said the barbecue is a chance for veterans and non-veterans to get together and celebrate the holiday.