On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, the day before Veterans Day, students, faculty, staff and community members met at the flag pole in front of the Administration Building to honor veterans. The short ceremony was coordinated by members of the SCC Veterans Engaging for Tomorrow at Shoreline (the college’s veterans club), the Campus Veteran Education Team and the Office of Special Services.
VETS Club member, Chad Springer welcomed the group, Tom Prigmore, Financial Services, performed the national anthem and veteran students, Jerome Wald and Jordany Urbano raised the flags.
Veteran and VETS Club president, Emily Olenik was honored with a reading by Wald. Olenik, who was born in Seattle and raised in Virginia, began her military service in 2002 with five years of active duty in the army as a combat medic. Working at the Walter Reed Eisenhower Executive Nursing Suite, Olenik cared for VIPs and worked in the ICU, where in 2005, she worked with a Lieutenant who was about her age who had had to have his limbs amputated. The life-changing experience spurred her on to take nothing for granted and to help others whenever possible. In 2006, Olenik was deployed to Iraq where she earned an Army Commendation Medal. During guard duty, she had identified a person carrying fake ID and detained him without incident. The individual was involved in a terrorist ring, and thanks to Olenik, the U.S. Army was able to uncover a ring of terrorist groups and deport 12 Iraqis. Since returning from active duty in 2007, she has continued to be a voice for female veterans. Olenik plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and hopes to work for the VA or at a military hospital in the ICU.
Veteran student Shane Freund honored U.S. Army veteran, Gerald Shogren, who was drafted in 1953 shortly after the Korean armistice by President Dwight Eisenhower. Shogren, who said that he has always felt fortunate about the timing of his draft notice, served in Germany where he and his troop stayed in barracks that were formerly occupied by Hitler’s troops. His work involved ensuring that phone service was available for Army personnel in case of a breakdown in regular service. Shogren, who eventually moved to Shoreline, became an active community member and he attended the college for a short time in 1999. Shogren was not able to attend.
A moment of silence allowed time for personal thanks and reflections of those who have served and continue to serve our country.
A staff sergeant recruiter from Northgate who had heard about the college event attended. Springer said he wasn’t here to recruit but wanted to “check out the vet center at the college.”
Olenik and Shogren were honored at the first City of Shoreline Veteran event on Veterans Day.
Representatives from the Veterans Center at the college collaborated with officials from the City of Shoreline to coordinate Veterans Day events. Kim Thompson, Director of the Office of Special Services, Angela Atkinson, Veteran Coordinator and Chad Springer, who holds the Veterans Navigator AmeriCorps position at the college, worked with Ray Coffey of the Shoreline City Hall and community members to plan individual events that honored a young veteran and an older veteran.
“We wanted to draw a bridge between elderly veterans and young vets,” Springer said, who helps students navigate the transition to college from military and process of receiving benefits.
Coffey said that the college and city worked in unison to raise awareness and collective visibility of veterans to the community. “It is the aim of a group of Shoreline veterans that these words will become commonplace as they help plan the first Veteran's Day Celebration in Shoreline at City Hall.” The city event included a 21-gun salute.
Learn more about the college's Veterans Programs.