By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart
The cold and rain didn’t deter members of the campus community and the community at large to gather in the Calice Advanced Manufacturing Center’s Connector to participate in the annual Veterans Day observance ceremony on November 11, 2022.
SUNY Broome’s President, Dr. Kevin E. Drumm, served as emcee for the event. Flanked by the Broome County Veterans Memorial Association Color Guard, Dr. Drumm introduced special speakers which included Dr. Carol Ross-Scott, Senator Fred Akshar, Broome County Legislator Karen Beebe (District 12), and Town of Dickinson Supervisor Mike Marinaccio. The ceremony opened with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem performed by SUNY Broome student, Emily Dimock, and was closely followed by a communal recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dr. Drumm provided an overview of the College’s long history of educating veterans. He shared the enrollment statistic that SUNY Broome’s first class of 215 students was comprised of 63 World War II veterans.
“Since then, thousands of veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and the Global War on Terror have included SUNY Broome as part of their journey, either pre, post, or even during active duty,” shared Dr. Drumm.
Each featured speaker reiterated the importance of honoring our veterans, but did so with their own special focus. For Karen Beebe, her remarks were inspired by her father, a Vietnam War veteran, who was just 18 years old when he was drafted. Beebe requested that the audience specifically never forget the contributions made by Vietnam veterans, who, plagued by PTSD, lingering effects of Agent Orange exposure, and lack of support upon their return home from Vietnam, are decades later still working to change their public perception.
Dr. Carol Ross-Scott, Vice President for Student Development & Chief Diversity Officer, highlighted the value that the veteran population brings to diversify our student body. She encouraged all students to reach out to their peers who have served, and learn about and value their experiences and their voices.
“As we visit together over refreshments at the conclusion of this ceremony, my hope is that you all take a few moments to genuinely express your appreciation to the veterans that are present with us today, but also to call or text the veterans in your respective lives and pass along a quick message of gratitude and encouragement. I’ll be reaching out and I hope you will do the same,” shared Dr. Ross-Scott.
All student veterans, dependents, and survivors are invited to visit the Veterans & Military Affairs Office located in Student Services Building, Room 102. Veterans and their families are encouraged to stop by for assistance in navigating the VA benefits process, learn about community resources, receive referrals for counseling for financial, vocational and academic issues, and socialize with one another. This office acts as a direct liaison between SUNY Broome Community College and the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Buffalo regarding payment of benefits.