by Alana J. Mauger
The Student Veterans Organization (SVO) of Montgomery County Community College recently hosted its second annual banquet last month to recognize members of the community at large for their support. A group of approximately 40 people—students, faculty, staff, alumni, military veterans and civilian supporters—attended the banquet, which was held at the Maenner Chor Club in Norristown.
After the meal, SVO Treasurer Fred Zajac provided an update on the group’s activities, which included attending the national Student Veterans of America conference.
“At the conference, we learned that Montgomery County Community College goes far past the norm in terms of services provided to student veterans,” he shared.
Zajac also announced that, for the first time, graduating veterans from the class of 2014 will don special stoles during the College’s Commencement ceremony on May 15—an idea they got at the conference.
The SVO is also working with the College’s Foundation to establish an emergency fund to assist student veterans who encounter unexpected financial challenges mid-program, and, as a result, may be at risk for dropping out.
“This is a fear we want to eliminate. Our hope is to offer an interest-free loan for student veterans in need,” Zajac said.
Next, Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Ann Marie Donohue, who serves as SVO faculty advisor, shared her experiences working with student veterans.
“I’m grateful for the privilege of working with our Student Veterans Organizations—past, present and, hopefully, future,” she shared, adding that “until all of our veterans are home and feel at home, none of us is home.”
“I invite my civilian counterparts to continue to be a community that supports our military men and women,” she said.
Representing the 500+ student veterans enrolled at the College, SVO President Chris Crouthamel presented a series of awards to supporters, including certificates of appreciation to Veterans Services Coordinator Justin Machain; Adventure Club President Briana Granese; and to Dr. Donohue and SVO officers Zajack and Joe Long.
Crouthamel and Long also presented three SVO “Diamond” Awards during the banquet to organizations and individuals that supported the College’s student veteran population over the past year.
For the Patriotic Award, presented to a non-military organization, the students selected Montgomery County Community College itself. The American Award, presented to a military organization, went to Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 25. DAV representatives Charlie Becker and Bill Pinkerton accepted the award on behalf of the chapter. The Star Award, presented to an individual supporter, was given to Robert Clark, a Veterans Representative with Career Link who holds office hours at the College’s Central and West campuses.
For five consecutive years, Victory Media has ranked Montgomery County Community College among the top 15 percent of institutions in country for veterans services. To learn more about these, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/vrc.