On Thursday, November 8th, Saddleback College veterans were honored in a moving ceremony hosted by the Veterans Education Transition Services (VETS) Center at the college’s veterans memorial. The event was attended by South Orange County Community College District Chancellor Gary Poertner, Saddleback College President Tod Burnett, faculty, staff, and administrators of Saddleback College, and veterans from Saddleback College and the community. Amanda Strader, a student at the college, sang the national anthem.
The event’s keynote speaker was Dr. James Wright, a member of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees and a retired colonel of the United States Air Force. In a stirring tribute to veterans, Dr. Wright stated, “This is a day of remembrance for those who sacrificed and especially those who have fallen. They are our war heroes.”
Speaking of the services provided to veterans at Saddleback College, Dr. Wright stated, “Veterans are one of our greatest untapped resources. They are self-sufficient, they understand the concept of sacrifice for the greater good; they have lived it. They think globally. They are the role models we need at our colleges. We owe them our gratitude and the chance to have meaningful careers.” To read Dr. Wright’s speech in full, click here.
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Thank you to our veterans for their service and sacrifice, which does not go unnoticed at our college. This group of men and women never fail to impress all of us at the college; not only have they risked their own lives for their country, but are typically model students and citizens who display great leadership and compassion. They are a prized group on our campus and it is our pleasure to serve them.”
Nick Martinez, a Saddleback College student who served in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps, stated, “My fellow veterans: You have been part of the world’s bravest and toughest force. Today let’s celebrate the acknowledgement of our sacrifice, the many thank-you’s, love, and support.”
Kolin Williams, a counselor in the VETS Center and a veteran of the United States Army, served as master of ceremonies and stated, “For many veterans, the transition to civilian life can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but with that challenge can come great achievement. We are proud of our veterans and thank them for their service.”