GVSU gets together to celebrate Veterans Day

Steven Lawrence, Staff Writer

GVL / Lauren Seymour

Nov. 11 was Veterans Day, and Grand Valley State University offered different events through the Veterans Resource Center to help show support and honor GVSU students and their families who have served in the military. The celebrations included the 11th annual Veterans Day Breakfast, with snacks provided by campus dining for veterans in the resource center. There was also a community presentation with First Sergeant Matt Eversman, whose real-life experience was the inspiration for the movie “Blackhawk Down.”

In October of 1993, Eversman led a group of UN Army Rangers in a peacekeeping operation in Somalia. The group was trapped and marked for death, but having survived and shown great heroism, Eversman was given a Bronze Star Medal with Valor (“V”) device.

During the presentation, Eversman talked about his time in the service and how this helped to teach him three core values he feels that everyone in the service holds to them: selfless service, courage and duty. Eversman described these as the feeling that all of those who serve in the military have that shows no matter how scared they get, they are still going out there to fight and help people that they may have never even met before. 

“These people don’t have superpowers or change in phone booths (like Superman), but they come from all different walks of life to try and serve and help others,” Eversman said.

The presentation also included a question and answer portion with the GVSU Military and Veterans Resource Manager, Jill Wolfe. Wolfe and Eversman talked about what military service means to them and what makes this day so important. 

“I grew up in a privileged household where I had everything handed to me, yet I never really felt necessary,” Wolfe said. “The military gave me that feeling. Through my military service, it became necessary to protect not just my fellow citizens, but to a whole new military family: soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and members of the Coast Guard. They came from every small town, every big city, every hue of skin color, every religion, both immigrants and born here in America. And they are still my family today, a family forged out of both hardship and the knowledge that above all, we are necessary.”

The Veterans Center is open to any GVSU students who have served in the armed forces. This group provides resources and information for veterans on campus. Whether that be help with mental health issues or financial help through scholarships and aids. These spaces are for veterans only, which provides a safe space through shared experiences. There are veterans lounges on both the Pew and Allendale campuses.

“The Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Resource Center is the keystone to ensuring veterans’ academic and career success,” Wolfe said. “But perhaps more importantly they can meet others who share their experience and understand the challenges and adjustments we’ve all had to make. We have scholarships, access to mental health resources, professional networking, help with deployments and help with applying for fellowships and internships.”

Those with questions can reach out to the Veterans Resource Center at 616-331-2369 or email Jill Wolfe at [email protected] Whether that be how to get involved with the center or any eligibility requirements for veteran resources.