Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Augustana veteran support group welcomes students

Augustana’s Veterans Support Group is focusing more on recruiting students this year. Students have always been able to join the group, but the group is promoting student involvement more than ever.
The group welcomes anyone in support of veterans or those on active duty, whether or not they are a veteran or have a veteran in the family.
Due to the two previous leaders, Josh Brown and J.D. Engelhardt, graduating last year, the group has recently started up again, hoping for increased support.
“We are making every effort to encourage students to be involved,” said Dan Lee, the Veterans Support Group advisor. “The general meetings are open to campus and everyone is welcome to take part, not just veterans, but all who support veterans and those on active duty. It is our hope that the group will increase awareness on campus of the importance of being supportive.”
Veterans beginning his or her college education can find support through the group and lean on it while assimilating to campus life.
Co-chair Michael Partyka said relating to other students can be difficult for veterans, and having a group like the Veterans Support Group can ease the transition.
“Differences in age and life experiences can make it difficult to relate with other students,” said Partyka. “My personal goal for the group is to bridge this gap and show others that veterans are just normal people who made the decision to serve our country. We came to Augie seeking an education, and like other students want to make friends and get involved on campus.”
The meetings are open and events the group organizes allow for volunteers and various levels of involvement..
Lee said students can help organize events like Salute to Veterans, an event honoring veterans, or attend events sponsored by the group. The group also does fundraising to support programs for wounded veterans.
“Today there are fewer vets, so it is easy for people not in the military to overlook vets,” said Lee. “So this group helps encourage awareness of veterans in need.”
The push for increased participation in the group comes in light of a speech Barack Obama gave Oct. 5th concerning the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. The president emphasized the importance of appreciating and supporting veterans, disabled while on duty or not.
Partyka said the memorial is interesting given that Vietnam veterans started planning and fundraising for the memorial before 9/11.
“They had no idea that a new generation of young Americans would be sent to fight the longest war in our nation’s history,” said Partyka. “Having personally received the Purple Heart in 2011 and having several friends who’ve lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the support of our disabled veterans is especially important to me.”

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Augustana veteran support group welcomes students