Over scrambled eggs, hash browns, muffins and more, veterans from the university, mingled and chatted, often sharing stories of their military service. The breakfast, in celebration of Veterans Day and those men and women on campus who have served in the military, was held on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Veteran’s Resource and Information Center in the Arkansas Union.

“It is a great honor to do this and to show our veterans our gratitude for their service,” said fellow veteran, Juanita Muckleroy, the school certification officer at VRIC and one of the event organizers.

The buffet-style breakfast was open to the entire campus community and included not only students, but staff and faculty as well.

“This is a great networking opportunity where veterans can meet other veterans on campus and it gives us the chance to know them better and find out how they are doing with school,” said Erika Gamboa, director of VRIC.

For veteran Marshall Kennedy, the day had added significance. “It’s great to dine with other veterans,” he said, “especially because today is the two hundredth and forty-first anniversary of the U. S. Marine Corps.” The former marine, who was stationed in Afghanistan, is working on a degree in criminal justice and is a familiar face at the VRIC.

Representing another branch of the military, Sean Graham, a navy vet, echoed Kennedy’s sentiments. “It’ really great of the VRIC to do this for us,” he said.

 

“It is a great honor to do this and to show our veterans our gratitude for their service,” said fellow veteran, , the  and one of the event organizers.

Juanita Muckleroy

Certification Officer at VRIC, Event Organizer, and fellow Veteran

“There is such a sense of connectedness about this event—it’s comfortable,” said faculty member, Paul Blisard, a veteran of the U.S. army.  Blisard, who is a clinical assistant professor of counseling education, said that the breakfast was a good opportunity for him to interact with students, especially for those who want to go into the field of counseling. “It’s only been recently that the Veteran’s Administration has hired licensed practical counselors, “ he said, “ and we have a great program here at the university.”

Not only were veterans treated to breakfast, some of them also received a $50 gift card to a local restaurant. Home for Dinner is a non-profit organization operating in Washington and Benton Counties, which works to provide veterans a one-time gift of dinner.  Attending the breakfast was Tera Woodhouse, who coordinates media relations for the non-profit.

“We have wonderful partnerships with many area restaurants, which helps us provide this service,” Woodhouse said. “We hold a fundraiser in August so that we can purchase the gift cards and many of our partners match them. In addition, we have raised 80-thousand dollars in scholarships for our veterans.“

Woodhouse, who volunteers for Home for Dinner, said she really appreciates businesses who “put their money where their mouths are.” She became involved with the organization after a family trip to Normandy, where she saw where her grandfather had served on D-Day.  “Home for Dinner is just a great way to say thank you to our veterans for their service to our country.”

And that is exactly what this breakfast celebration was all about.

Are you interested in supporting student veterans?

Learn more about how your generous gifts can help support student veterans at the Veterans Resource and Information Center (VRIC). For more information about giving to the VRIC directly, contact Carolyn Collins at 479-575-5007 or by email at cdc008@uark.edu.