Meramec Breaks Out the Red, White and Blue

Posted on 14 November 2017 by admin

Veteran’s Club honors holiday with a week of veteran-themed activities


By:  Melissa Wilkinson


For Meramec’s veteran’s club, the flags in the library quad represented more than just a patriotic

Nov. 6-10 was Veteran’s Week, an event which has been in the works for months, according to veteran’s club president Axa Guerra.

“The trouble with reaching the community and the student body was that most students aren’t actually veterans or don’t have strong ties to the military,” said Guerra. “We came up with the idea of doing things for the veterans in the community. My main goal was to reach as many people on campus I could.”

Guerra, who was an avionics technician in the Air Force for eight years, was a Meramec student before he joined the service at age 20. He returned to Meramec to take classes for his personal growth. According to Guerra, he inherited the idea of Veteran’s Week from the previous club president.

Each day of Veteran’s Week saw a new feature on campus to draw attention to the celebration of those who have donated military service. Club members placed flags in the library quad on Sunday night so they could be seen on Monday. Tuesday, the cafeteria hosted tables from several veteran’s services groups for veterans to ask questions. Wednesday there was an inflatable obstacle course in the student center quad which, according to financial aid counselor and VA certifying official Katie Schaben, was a huge success with students.

“We saw students running literally out of the library with their shoes already off. We went through nine batches of popcorn,” said Schaben. “Students loved it.”

According to Guerra, the obstacle course was put up to give back to the community.

“We did that kind of as a way to give students a way to destress,” said Schaben. “We’re in between midterms, right before finals…And in the end, the holidays tend to be a hard time for veterans because it’s a time they used to see some of their battle buddies who may not be with us anymore. This was a way to blow off some steam, get some physical aggression out.”

Thursday featured a mobile vet center with an expert from the veteran affairs medical center. Veterans were invited into the center, which was stationed in the visitor parking lot, for mental health information or referral services in a private setting.

Friday featured a traditional flag-raising ceremony. Student veterans in attendance were encouraged to wear their ‘cover’, a baseball or military hat, with their branch of service on it. Schaben invited her grandfather, who served in the Korean War, to attend the ceremony.

“I come from a huge military family,” said Schaben. “It gave me the passion…to help those that have served and to help those with disabilities in general. Once you give them that encouragement and power they tend to do really well.”

Schaben was integral in establishing the veteran’s resource center on campus. She was also brought in several years ago to help get the veteran’s club more active.

“That’s been a struggle because a lot of our students are commuters. They come here, they go to school, and then they either have life or a job or something else that takes them away from campus quickly. We figured if we can’t get our veterans super active lets at let the other students know we’re here.”

According to Schaben, the best way to honor our veterans is to treat them like any other student; with respect.

“Some veterans don’t wear it on their sleeve,” said Schaben. “If you see a veteran, thank them for their service. Something as small as that is huge. It means a lot to them.”

Guerra expressed similar sentiments on the topic.

“I don’t think veterans are looking for much. Just a simple “thank you for your service.” is good enough for me.”


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