by Khalics Bryant
During Armed Forces week, May 16 through 20, Whatcom’s veterans led by Arianne Detroy, vetcorps navigator at Whatcom Community College, and helped by many others, set-up a number of events to honor veterans. The celebration included a barbecue, films, and a ceremony attended by representatives of the governor’s office.
“These events are to recognize people who are, and who have served in the military,” said Travis Grimme, a veteran and VA work-study student. “We are also recognizing Whatcom as a veteran friendly campus.”
A central part of the celebration was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement on behalf of Washington’s governor, Christine Gregoire, defining a new partnership between the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington National Guard, Higher Education Coordinating Board, State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, and the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
The First Gentleman of Washington, Mike Gregoire, was in attendance representing the governor’s office, and spoke briefly about the importance of assisting veterans in their education needs. He stressed the state’s commitment to veterans and applauded their service to this country.
With a smile and a handshake Whatcom’s President, Kathi Hiyane-Brown, thanked Gregoire after they both signed the memorandum. She also thanked veterans for all they sacrifice to keep us safe.
Dr. Peter Schmidt, senior associate dean of student success and retention at Edmonds Community College, held a seminar on how intuitions of higher education can veterans as they transition to civilian life. He spoke on ways schools can help soldiers who return with traumatic brain injuries.
“The Corporals Diary” is the story of Jonathan Santos, 22, who lived in Bellingham before enlisting in the army. Santos was killed on day 38 of his tour in Iraq. This movie was shown to students and staff in the Laidlaw center.
“This is good support for veterans and the Armed Forces,” said Wes Pedlow a Navy veteran and student at Whatcom. “I’m glad Whatcom is doing this.”