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Raising funds for veterans

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Wed, Sep 13th 2017 12:00 am

Last week, The College at Brockport’s Veteran Affairs (VA) hosted its fifth annual 5K marathon to raise money for the veteran affairs program. Every year, hundreds of people show up to support local veterans. 

Director of the Academic Success Center, Thomas Chew, described it as a celebration.

“We have a big scholarship fund growing every year because people show up and run,” Chew said. “The 5K is cool just because so many people are out at the same time.”

Financial Advisor Tonia Risse said she thoroughly enjoyed the 5K as well.

“What I love about it is that you get to see not just the campus community involved, but individuals from Brockport,” Risse said. “You get to see local service members who participate. Even Brockport staff and faculty who come out for it and students who come out for it bring their whole families. It’s not just a campus event, it’s a community event.”

Marathons aren’t the only way to help support veterans. Last year, there was a screening of the documentary, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” which won the academy award in 2015 for Best Documentary. Afterwards, Dr. Tom Hernandez, the Interim Dean, Education and Human Services and other counselors from Canandaigua held a discussion panel where they answered questions from the audience.

The short film revolves around employees who answer calls at the United States Department of Veteran Affairs suicide hotline in Canandaigua. The 44 minute-long documentary was a hit here at Brockport and the planning committee is working hard so something like this is bound to return again.

“The documentary was amazing,” Chew said. “To have the folks talking there and taking questions was amazing. We have a hundred-twenty or so people in the audience and it was great to have such a powerful thing with the real people answering such amazing questions.”

Brockport’s VA has plans in works for more future events. In the spring, for Black History Month, they’re going to have speakers relating to African American’s in the service. They’re also going to have a veteran’s job fair in March.

“We’re trying to partner with things that are already happening and get more awareness and make them a little bigger,” Chew said. “We’re gonna do a hat and glove drive and holiday cards to be send to troops. We’re gonna also do valentines and shoe drives.”

Brockport’s VA did not host it, but last year there was a shoe drive to collect footwear for homeless veterans.

“It’s not always a monetary thing,” Risse said. “The reason I think all of us are here are to help students go to college. To help navigate that experience and make it positive.”

Chew wants people to know that they’re trying to grow. Both the veteran students and the general campus community can become more aware of the events and programs going on and help out.

“We have a large number of veteran students on campus and it’d be great if they became an active community,” Chew said.

 

smorr11@brockport.edu