Honoring our Veterans–A High Honor for Us All

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GCU faculty, students, staff and area residents honored veterans like John Brown (pictured with business major Mark Torlucci) for their service during a daylong observance at Georgian Court University.

There is no higher honor than serving your country, Georgian Court University students, alumni and one local resident—all veterans of the U.S. military—said during GCU’s Nov. 11 Veterans Day observance.

In a two-hour presentation that drew tears, laughter and admiration, nearly 100 faculty, staff, students and area residents listened as former soldiers shared poignant and highly emotional experiences from their time in training, on the ground and in combat.

Former Marine Robert Tanner III, who earned his MBA at Georgian Court, recounted some of those experiences in his 2013 release, Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox.

“I wrote it for them—the rest of my squad,” he said. “It wasn’t about being on the bestseller lists or selling thousands of copies. It was about giving readers realistic insight.”

READ MORE: Scholarship Opportunities & Resources for Veterans

Georgian Court works to make sure our veteran students are well cared for, and recently, an anonymous donor established the Military Veteran’s Endowed Scholarship, which provides tuition support to veterans with a special focus on those who were injured during their service. GCU sophomore Michael Gregory, who served in Afghanistan, is the first recipient of this scholarship, which supplements benefits available to GCU veterans through the GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and other resources. Michael is also the student representative on a committee that recently joined GCU President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., ’72 in announcing the GCU Student Veterans Resource Project. The project, which will provide veterans with a space and programming dedicated to their needs on campus, includes an office in the counseling center where they can find information, meet other veterans, or stop in for coffee. Special events and programs, like the moving Veterans Day ceremony that opened the project, will be offered throughout the year to all students. To learn more about the Student Veterans Resource Project or to establish your own scholarship, visit georgian.edu/advancement/scholarships or call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 732.987.2206.

Veteran John Brown, who later worked for 25 years with the N.J. Department of Labor, spoke of his time with an intelligence platoon in the late 1960s. The Lakewood native was enrolled at a college in Iowa (and just happened to be in talks with the Baltimore Colts at the time) when he was drafted and shipped to Vietnam.

The Purple Heart recipient served four tumultuous months in war-ravaged villages, and was wounded three times. The audience hung on every word as he explained the critical nature of trust between soldiers.

“There was a man in my platoon who was a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan—and I was a card-carrying member of the NAACP,” Mr. Brown said. “When I was wounded in my chest, he was the one who dragged me out there. He wouldn’t leave me behind.”

Coming back to the United States at the height of the war’s unpopularity was difficult.

“I returned to unrest and riots. The night that we arrived in Washington, D.C., and got on the bus taking us to Walter Reed Army Hospital, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at us.”

Despite the challenges veterans faced then and now, including transitioning to civilian life, homelessness, and problems in securing government benefits, the speakers did not regret their service.

Retired Navy veteran Patti Costello, now a student at GCU, put it this way:

“People ask me if I’d do it all over again. Some days ‘yes,’ some days ‘no,’ but the bottom line is that it’s the greatest experience I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the greatest country—the United States.”

20141111-164613.jpg

GCU faculty, students, staff and area residents honored veterans like John Brown (pictured with business major Mark Torlucci) for their service during a daylong observance at Georgian Court University.

There is no higher honor than serving your country, Georgian Court University students, alumni and one local resident—all veterans of the U.S. military—said during GCU’s Nov. 11 Veterans Day observance.

In a two-hour presentation that drew tears, laughter and admiration, nearly 100 faculty, staff, students and area residents listened as former soldiers shared poignant and highly emotional experiences from their time in training, on the ground and in combat.

Former Marine Robert Tanner III, who earned his MBA at Georgian Court, recounted some of those experiences in his 2013 release, Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox.

“I wrote it for them—the rest of my squad,” he said. “It wasn’t about being on the bestseller lists or selling thousands of copies. It was about giving readers realistic insight.”

READ MORE: Scholarship Opportunities & Resources for Veterans

Georgian Court works to make sure our veteran students are well cared for, and recently, an anonymous donor established the Military Veteran’s Endowed Scholarship, which provides tuition support to veterans with a special focus on those who were injured during their service. GCU sophomore Michael Gregory, who served in Afghanistan, is the first recipient of this scholarship, which supplements benefits available to GCU veterans through the GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and other resources. Michael is also the student representative on a committee that recently joined GCU President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., ’72 in announcing the GCU Student Veterans Resource Project. The project, which will provide veterans with a space and programming dedicated to their needs on campus, includes an office in the counseling center where they can find information, meet other veterans, or stop in for coffee. Special events and programs, like the moving Veterans Day ceremony that opened the project, will be offered throughout the year to all students. To learn more about the Student Veterans Resource Project or to establish your own scholarship, visit georgian.edu/advancement/scholarships or call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 732.987.2206.

Veteran John Brown, who later worked for 25 years with the N.J. Department of Labor, spoke of his time with an intelligence platoon in the late 1960s. The Lakewood native was enrolled at a college in Iowa (and just happened to be in talks with the Baltimore Colts at the time) when he was drafted and shipped to Vietnam.

The Purple Heart recipient served four tumultuous months in war-ravaged villages, and was wounded three times. The audience hung on every word as he explained the critical nature of trust between soldiers.

“There was a man in my platoon who was a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan—and I was a card-carrying member of the NAACP,” Mr. Brown said. “When I was wounded in my chest, he was the one who dragged me out there. He wouldn’t leave me behind.”

Coming back to the United States at the height of the war’s unpopularity was difficult.

“I returned to unrest and riots. The night that we arrived in Washington, D.C., and got on the bus taking us to Walter Reed Army Hospital, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at us.”

Despite the challenges veterans faced then and now, including transitioning to civilian life, homelessness, and problems in securing government benefits, the speakers did not regret their service.

Retired Navy veteran Patti Costello, now a student at GCU, put it this way:

“People ask me if I’d do it all over again. Some days ‘yes,’ some days ‘no,’ but the bottom line is that it’s the greatest experience I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the greatest country—the United States.”

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