Veterans Day 2013 at UW-Superior - Nov 11, 2013 - University News - UW-Superior News and Events

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Veterans Day 2013 at UW-Superior

Posted on Nov 11, 2013
Honoring Heroes Among Us
click to enlarge
Photo provided by Ivy Vainio

Photo provided by Ivy Vainio

365 days a year, Veterans make a difference in our country and on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus. Monday, Veterans Day marked a special day set aside to thank them for that work and to honor them as well.

Chancellor Renée Wachter welcomed everyone to campus and expressed her deep appreciation for their efforts. She knows first hand the sacrifices a military family makes. Her father was a member of the Air Force and served our country in Vietnam. "It's a special day to welcome you here and this Veterans Day ceremony. We do remember the men and women who have risked their lives and those of their families when the call has arisen."

UW-Superior held several events to honor those who have served our country and one of those was a program called, a "Recognition of Heroes Among Us" celebration. Twelve students, faculty, staff and alumni were honored for the service.

The EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE AWARD was created to begin a Veterans Day tradition that gives the UW-Superior community, the opportunity to identify- by an open nomination process-the heroes in our midst. The nominees this year came from colleagues, friends, family, instructors, advisors, and alumni.


· Michael James Malone, Colonel, United States Air Force

· Amy (Bandelin) Mischke - Sergeant, United States Army

· Kelly Polsgrove, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force

· John Swamberg, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

· Trevor "T.J." Smith, Staff Sergeant, United States Army National Guard

· Aaron Bigboy, Corporal, United States Marine Corps

· Richard Stewart, Captain, United States Navy

· Russell Drylie, Colonel, United States Marine Corps

· Faith Hensrud, Captain, United States Army Reserve

· Lynn Kapalin, Buck Sergeant, United States Air Force

· Kathy Pykkonen, Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force

· Alex Tappe, Machinist Mate Fireman, United States Navy

The guest speaker was 2011 UW-Superior graduate First Lt. Jeremy Bates, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. He encouraged those attending to find a way to help veterans in their daily life. "Be more aware of their situation and show empathy and increased understanding for those that have been through such great challenges. Show them that you have their back and give back to those who have contributed so much." He was also one of those that had a vision that veterans could use more support, and helped to get veteran programming underway at UW-Superior.

Also a moment of silence for all men and women who responded to the call to defend freedom was held at 1 p.m. UW-Superior was one of 75 universities across the country taking part in that Moment of Silence event and a total of 218 names of military members were read from Minnesota and Wisconsin who gave the ultimate sacrifice since 2001. Members of the Superior Fire Department were on hand for that event and a bell from their unit was used to mark the start of the moment of silence, and again when it was over.

Veterans and their families make a big impact at the university. UW-Superior strives to make the transition from military service to university student as easy as possible, understanding it can be a difficult process for both veterans and their families.

In Fall 2013, 86 veteran students were enrolled and another 54 students were dependents or a spouse of a military member. A total of 140 students receive G.I. Bill benefits and that includes undergraduate, graduate and online students. For the 4th year in a row UW-Superior has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center on campus not only assists and serves these students, they provide programming and a welcoming inclusive area for students to thrive.

First Year Seminar students gave presentations on death and dying. Students presented short educational components on the history of dog tags, U.S. Military funeral rituals, and how wars have changed funeral customs and beliefs throughout history.

RaLynn Schmalzried, assistant professor of Psychology was thrilled with how the students prepared for the event and provided educational programming to the day. "I thought they did a great job, coming to present to the chancellor and the public was a little nerve racking for some of them. We pushed their comfort boundaries and they learned a lot in the process and I couldn't have been happier with their presentations today. Chase Moon, a freshman student in the class also played taps to close the presentation.

T.J. Smith is a now a senior at UW-Superior who has had his education interrupted by several military missions. Smith has devoted great energy to veteran issues both on campus and in the community - he also serves his fellow student veterans at UW-Superior as co-president of the Veterans Club. He was pleased with how the University added educational information to the program. "It's needed. A lot of people don't really know what the day is about. Too often we see people combine Veterans Day and Memorial Day and between the two holidays we are not really sure what we are celebrating and who we are honoring. To have the First Year Seminar come in and do the educational portion of the event and help build the American Heritage and help people remember what these days are about was really powerful."

According to Carl Huber, the Veteran and Nontraditional Center is dedicated to assisting those who have served our country. "The University of Wisconsin-Superior's community has countless men and women who could be recognized for their ''Excellence in Service," says Huber. "Daily we have heroes walking our halls offering encouragement, publishing research in our academic disciplines, advising students, or simply giving directions to a visitor. Veterans Day gives us a special occasion to pause and remember all those living and deceased who have answered the call to defend our great nation's Constitution preserving our freedoms."

News Contact: Tom Hansen | 715-394-8260 | thansen7{atuws}
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