Congressman speaks to student veterans

Congressman Greg Walden congratulated SOU for their work with the ROTC program.  Photo by Emily Albertson/The Siskiyou

Congressman Greg Walden congratulated SOU for their work with the ROTC program. Photo by Emily Albertson/The Siskiyou

Congressman Greg Walden visited SOU for Veteran’s Day last week, speaking to a crowd with many student veterans.

Walden congratulated SOU for their work with the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which is a school military program designed for future army officers.  The program existed in the past but was cut and started again last school year.

Students are able to qualify for up to $10,000 a year towards tuition and fees for joining the program, and potentially another $6,200 for books and other expenses.

The ROTC program is administered through the National Guard and upon graduation, students can choose their level of involvement, from a National Guard reservist to a full time position.

Congressman Walden talked about the respect and thanks that should be given to those in the program, those who are currently serving, and those who have served in the past.

“Veterans often blend back in and yet become the people working for the betterment of communities,” Walden said.

He spoke to the audience, praising those that have taken an active involvement in the military.

“It’s an important role for a country that believes in the continuation of freedom.”

Former president of the now defunct Veteran Student Union at SOU, Cameron Mace, also spoke at the event, sharing his struggles with coming back to school after serving in the military.

“Once you’re a veteran, you’re always a member of a team,” Mace said.

In his time as president of the VSU, Mace organized a designated computer in the Commuter Resource Center for just veterans to use.  Mace returned to Oregon in May as one of 3,000 National Guard troops coming back to the state.

Mace came back to SOU to find that not only was the veterans’ desk in the CRC gone, but the entire Veteran Student Union ceased to exist.

Mace, who is one of more than 170 student veterans at SOU, said that having a student union for veterans is important, and hopes to see the organization revived.

Currently student veterans can participate in a veterans group on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Dankook room, SU 314.

 

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