CPP honors members of the Armed Forces

By Sofia Garcia and Erin Han, Nov. 15, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona’s Veterans Resource Center hosted their annual Veterans Day Observance in the Recital Hall on Tuesday Nov. 8, to celebrate the veteran community and their service.

U.S. Senator Susan Rubio, CPP President Soraya M. Coley and around 100 guests were able to participate in the observance of the Veterans Day celebration.

The event was headlined by keynote speaker, Vishal Amin, a United States Marine Corps Veteran and a CPP alum.

“On Veterans Day and every day, I want all the veterans in the room to not identify ourselves as a veteran, but what are you doing with that sense of identity to make an impact. I ask all the military families and communities in the room to do the same.” said Amin.

According to CPP’s Veteran Ambassador for the college of business, John Offenburger Espinoza, this event helps to highlight those veterans who have experienced the psychological effects of training and combat and sacrificed their lives.

Offenburger Espinoza recognizes the amount of PTSD and stigma placed on a member of the military; Veterans Day is a good time to bring awareness to the struggles veterans face in their daily lives.

“Being a veteran, I can understand it, because sometimes you’re being asked to do things you don’t want to, but you still got to do it.” said Offenburger Espinoza.

The VRC encourages those impacted by trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder to seek on-campus resources like Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as Student Health and Wellness services.

According to Offenburger Espinoza any student can visit the VRC to look at the resources offered to the entire campus community.

“Most students on campus don’t know is that the VRC is open to all the students, no matter what,” said Offenburger Espinoza.

The VRC offers various resources in support of student veterans and dependents. Among the services are counseling, scholarship opportunities, career workshops and veteran recognition events.

For Thomas Verdin, a geology student, Veterans Day is an important time to pay respect for those who have fought for our country.

“Veterans Day for cadets is for respecting the people that went before us,” Verdin said. “Thanking them for their service and for teaching us the things we know and allowing us to take on the profession for them.”

Verdin is a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at CPP. According to Verdin, he and his fellow cadets learn — throughout the course of their service — the day-to-day life of an active member of the armed forces, and the values they carry.

During the event the ROTC performed a color guard for the veterans. Attendees were able to stop by the Staff Council booth to write holiday cards to current members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Erin Han | The Poly Post

“My favorite part, I’m a little bit biased, but it’s probably the color guard,” Verdin said. “We work a lot with the Veterans Resource Center, and I really like working with them, so anytime I’m doing a color guard for them it’s always really special for me.”

Along with the color guard, the CPP Wind Ensemble performed a Veteran’s Day medley, with songs like “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa. CPP’s band director Rickey Badua said his favorite part is always seeing the smiles and energy from CPP’s veterans.

“We were serving our veterans on campus through our music,” said Badua. “I think music always brings people together and it usually is in celebration.”

According to Offenburger Espinoza military service is a passion because he believes in defending the U.S. Constitution and to be the first to aid in disaster.

“I want to be part of the action. I want to be there whenever America needs us,” said Offenburger Espinoza. “I want to be the first one out there to help in the best possible way.”

The observance was not only important for the veterans themselves, but also for the awareness of veterans to those who may not always think to observe Veterans Day.

“It puts on display the veterans to the rest of the school,” Verdin said. “It’s the small things at the end of the day that say a lot … like having the band play, or having a guest speaker come out, or having President Coley show up — the small things like that really add up and mean a lot.”

Feature image by Erin Han

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