MILITARY HONOR CORDS FOR 2014 COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY
Northern Virginia Community College is pleased to continue its symbolic initiative of honoring our graduating military and veteran students. Red, White and Blue honor cords will be available for graduating service members for the Commencement Ceremonyon May18th. The cords signify the appreciation NOVA feels toward our military and veteran students for their distinguished service and sacrifice.
Faculty, Staff and Students who are interested in allowing NOVA to honor your service can pick up a cord at any campus Veteran Advisor office or our military installations (For Myer, Fort Belvoir Henderson Hall and Quntico) between April12th – May 10th.
A long time ago I was a combat medic in the Army National Guard out of South Carolina. People find this interesting because I am a small person and a nerd – so it just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I appreciate my 7 years with the National Guard – I met wonderful people, had access to great equipment and had amazing experiences. I enlisted to get the funding to complete my undergraduate degree, and the military did provide me with the GI Bill and other programs so that I graduated college with almost zero debt. While training as a non-commissioned officer, I met my husband of 20 years – so I can thank the Army for that too.
While deployed during the first Gulf war, my unit was tasked with running a hospital on a military base in Saudi Arabia. The photograph is of me in the ER with an Egyptian nurse, Adnan, who made friends with all of us (he also proposed marriage to almost all of us women medics). After seeing American and Iraqi soldiers and Saudi civilians with serious injuries and burns, I realized that we are all the same: when we are in pain or scared, we all need support and understanding regardless of our country of origin, race or religion. Although I haven’t been in the military for years now, I will always be grateful for that experience. Go Army!
As a young adult, I considered joining the military – primarily for the educational benefits. However, I decided to pursue my education on my own. After earning my Bachelor of Science degree from Dakota State College in Madison, SD, I took a job teaching English in a small town in Iowa. In my second year of teaching one of my students was absent for a week. When he returned, I asked for his excuse and was intrigued to see that he had been processing for the Iowa Army National Guard. I looked into it and ended up joining. I enlisted as a Private First Class (E-3) since I already had a bachelor’s degree. I attended basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC.\
I worked full time for the Iowa Army National Guard as the State Training NCO for several years. I achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) by the time I left the service. I benefited from my service in the National Guard in many ways. I met my husband there and we got married under crossed cannons during summer camp (Field Artillery unit – they didn’t have swords) with our Battalion Chaplain performing the ceremony. Since I enlisted under a student loan repayment program, the National Guard paid my student loans from my undergraduate degree. I was eligible for educational assistance while I served and the Guard paid 90% of my tuition costs for my graduate degree at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.