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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Veteran students honor holiday

Kim Shroyer’s typical Veterans Day tradition consists of a juicy steak and a beer, items she can enjoy now that she is no longer in Iraq.

Shroyer, age 30, is double majoring in history and gender and women studies; she is also  the philanthropic coordinator for the Student Veterans of America chapter on campus, which has gained national recognition.

She served in Iraq as a mechanic from October 2005 to 2006.

Shroyer said every time someone does something veteran-related, it makes them think about things they do not necessarily want to think about. Because of this feeling, she usually reflects on the annual American holiday honoring military veterans at home with her partner.

There are about 1,000 veterans on campus and the club has now been recognized for more than two years, according to Shroyer.

It can be hard for veterans to fit it on campus, she said. The UA holds service classes that help students reintegrate, called Supportive Education for Returning Veterans.

She recalls taking a Vietnam class and a student speaking out saying that the soldiers were evil, to which she replied, “”The soldiers did things they were not supposed to have done and they should be held accountable for that, but you can’t judge someone until you know what it is like to die in war or fear for your life.””

She said it can be difficult to relate to some students because of her life experiences, but what is most important to her is that people have respect.

Matt Randle, director of the Veterans  Services Office, served in Iraq from 1998 to 2003 as a medic. He said that Veterans Day is not just about sales in retail stores. For generations, less than 1 percent of people in this country took a responsibility of defending our freedom to get an education and have political opinions.””If people do nothing more than take a moment on Thursday and thank a veteran, that goes so far for all of us,”” he said.

He plans to spend his Thursday golfing, but he said before he goes he will call his grandfather and thank him for his service like he does annually.

“”These men and women are the bedrock of our country,”” Randle said. “”I see a bright future when I look at these people.””

Ricardo Pereyda, a 28-year-old studying public management and policy, was stationed in Germany from 2003 to 2006 and served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005.

“”I felt obligated to join the military, it’s a family tradition,”” he said in the club lounge room.

Students can come and have their own niche here, Pereyda said.

It is important to veterans to continue to serve their country through community service and outreach, Pereyda said.

“”We are not just a group of angry messed up guys from war, we want to be reintegrated, it just takes us time to do it,”” Pereyda said.

He plans to go to the local Veterans Day parade, to show his support for those individuals who have served.

It is a time for reflection more than anything, he said.

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