College of Marin Honors Veterans With 9/11 Ceremony
Blue Moms of Marin Provide Gift for Student Veterans Services Center
KENTFIELD, CA—September 5, 2013—College of Marin will be honoring veterans at a flag raising ceremony with remarks by a student veteran and Superintendent/President David Wain Coon on September 11, followed by an open house at the Student Veterans Services Center on the Kentfield Campus.
“We are so proud of our growing family of student veterans on campus who have organized this tribute,” Coon said. “It is an opportunity to honor the commitment and sacrifice of veterans and also to let our student veterans know we support their educational success.”
There are about 100 student veterans currently enrolled at College of Marin. The new Veterans Services Center opened last year with seed funding by the Associated Students at College of Marin and private donors. The center is furnished with desks, chairs, two computers for students, a 40-inch TV and a sofa. It is a place where student veterans work to connect their peers with extended resources for priority registration, benefits and referrals to outside services as well as a campus home to decompress and share experiences.
“We provide a place vets can call their own,” said Arnulfo Cedillo, director of Student Affairs and Health Center.
The COM Veterans Center has received a generous donation from the Blue Star Moms of Marin, a chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, who originally came together during WWII to support troops, their families and veterans. The Blue Star Moms of Marin was founded in 2009 and supports a large care package program for troops and, with a large volunteer group and community partnerships, provides other services to veterans. The chapter has members from San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma counties.
“We understand that there are more veterans than ever at COM this year and I think that it is important to have a place where they can go for assistance and community with other vets,” said Barbara Bochner, president of Blue Star Moms of Marin. “We hope to be able to assist them where possible with their events, as well as with some financial support.”
About 30,000 men and women leave the military and return to California each year; a number that is expected to increase dramatically as the war in Afghanistan winds down and the military downsizes. While many students have signed up for education benefits under the enhanced GI Bill, student veterans often need additional assistance to ensure their academic success and transition to productive civilian lives.
Craig Wheeler, a biology student who served in the U.S. Army from 1989-1993 and then, the Army Reserves, was a founding member of the COM Veterans Association and currently serves as its president. He hopes other student veterans will discover there is welcoming place on campus for them that is not attached to the military but is staffed by people who share their experiences and simply want to help.
“It’s a relaxed environment,” Wheeler said. “Young veterans can exchange stories about their experiences. I think it’s very therapeutic.”
For more information about the Veterans Services Center, call (415) 457-8811, ext. 7782, or visit http://www.marin.edu/VeteranEducation/index.htm, to learn about veterans services.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013