by Kelsey Rowlson
Erin Hendrix, president of the Veterans Club, is an inspiration. Currently Hendrix is taking classes full time at Whatcom Community College and is also work part-time at the Veteran Center on Byron Ave. But this alone doesn’t make her an inspiration. Recently, Hendrix got back from training in Fort Lewis where she was attending the Warrior Leader Course because, Hendrix, who is a part of the National Guard, is being promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Whatcom has a very active Veterans Club with about 20 members, both veterans and current members of the military. Arianne Detroy, the Vet Corp representative for Whatcom and also the vice president of the Veterans Club, said that the club used to only allow veterans, but is now open to everybody including family members of those in the military.
“The club works because we all care,” Hendrix said. She continues that, “It is really an honor to be able to be a part of something like the Vet Club where I can use my knowledge and the knowledge of everyone in the club to help each other.
In honor of Veterans Day, the club is doing two projects.
The first of these two on November 8, 9, and 10, is a clothing drive to help homeless veterans of Whatcom County. According to a 2010 survey done by Christopher Brown, 8 percent of Whatcom County’s residents are veterans and 89 households include a homeless veteran. The clothing drive will have barrels set up in the Syre building at Whatcom for clothing donations.
On November 11, the club’s second project, an effort partnered with the Red Cross, will be under way: Operation Snack Attack. This annual program, which sends non-perishable snack food to troops overseas, will take place inside Bellis Fair Mall by the food court from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There will also be a couple barrels located near the veterans’ office at Whatcom and a barrel located at the Fairhaven Haggen for food donations.
“When you get used to someone running your life, when you have to run your life, it gets overwhelming,” said Chris Moser, veteran representative.
The veteran service office, located in the Laidlaw building, is set up so that veterans can come in and ask questions and get more thorough and personal responses on a one-on-one basis, said Moser. Besides providing transitional support, the veteran service office provides financial aid and emotional support.
The veteran services office, which Moser said, “used to [be] a desk behind a door” has come a long way. Jarid Corbitt, veteran advisor at Whatcom, added that “the school has committed to supporting Vets.”
The veteran service office takes appointments and also drop-in advising.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, also known as Veterans Day, with the following words. “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”