Veterans Appreciated at MC

combat-2-college-veterans

Montgomery College offers a variety of programs to war veterans, but perhaps the most rewarding program is the Veterans Club itself (Photo: Montgomerycollege.edu)

combat-2-college-veterans
Montgomery College offers a variety of programs to war veterans, but perhaps the most rewarding program is the Veterans Club itself
(Photo: Montgomerycollege.edu)

Montgomery College’s Veterans Club threw a party for students to promote awareness and appreciation of the veterans on and off campus. The festivities included pizza, soda, video games and a playlist of the years hottest songs. “It’s kind of a way to get the school together. The purpose of this event is just to get more exposure and more knowledge for the veterans who don’t know about the veterans club.” Said club president, Jonathan Alfaro.

The Veterans Club aims to help create a place where former military men and women can hang out, assist each other with school work, and provide camaraderie and resources to their fellow veterans in helping educational and personal advancement.

Another main focus of the club is to create awareness for the group itself. There are an estimated 800 veterans attending Montgomery College’s Rockville campus alone. “When I first came to Montgomery College, I was lost. I didn’t know who to talk to. It was a big transition from the military to civilian life–especially college life.” Said Alfaro

“I would like to be able to [help] other veterans who decide to come to Montgomery College and just kind of help guide them and get them in the right direction so they know where to go for information.” Alfaro added.

One of the club’s other functions is to help change any negative stereotypes or perceptions that people may have regarding members of the armed forces. The goal of providing information and insight can help bridge people of both sides on the issues of war.

The Veterans Club has also been involved in giving back to their community both inside and outside of Montgomery College. Another purpose for throwing the party was to increase student participation as well as awareness.

Rather than rely too heavily on the school, the Veterans Club embrace the idea that the students should find their feet and choose to involve themselves.

“If we rely too much on the school, then we’re going to forget about our responsibilities. It’d be really good to see the community just grow. [It’s] not from the administration, but just from the students of Montgomery College.”

However, Alfaro does not just want to simply sit and chat with veterans of Montgomery College exclusively. The club president has more elaborate, hands-on plans for his group.

“In February, we are going to have a visit to Charlotte Hall, which is the only hospital/housing for veterans in the state of Md. Veterans who have no homes or can’t really support themselves are provided housing there, and we’re going to go down and visit them.”

“Honestly, if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. They fought in wars. Very, very deadly wars, and we can at least give them some type of tribute. We can make a difference by just spending a few minutes with them, talking about what their experiences were…talking about being veterans and just helping them out the best way we can. It is all so they’re not forgotten, because that’s the worst part:  Knowing you were such a huge part of an event, and that all of a sudden, people just forget it and push it to the side. So we’ll do anything we can to help out.”

The Veterans Club is also working with the Art Club to host an event at Walter Reed Hospital. It’s clear that when a veteran’s term of service has ended, their determination to help their fellow soldiers does not.