CNM Honors Veterans During Veterans Week
“We are pleased to have these activities to honor our veterans. They have served our country well and now it’s our turn to recognize them,” said J.R. Romero, CNM’s VetSuccess counselor, who serves as a "one-stop liaison" for all veterans, active duty personnel and their dependents who attend CNM.
There are 1,139 students who use veterans’ benefits to attend CNM with about 25 percent of them recently discharged or retired from service. CNM serves more military students than any other college in New Mexico.
Veterans Day celebrations at Main Campus began at 10 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the campus flagpole between the Student Resource Center and Jeannette Stromberg Hall. Dean of Students Dr. Rudy Garcia welcomed the guests, which was followed by a parade of colors presented by the Kirtland Honor Guard. Guest speakers included CNM President Katharine Winograd; Donald K. Arnold, Brigadier General and Chief of Staff of the 47th New Mexico Regiment Honor Guard; J.R. Romero, retired from the United States Navy and currently the Vet Success on Campus counselor; and Debra Roane, a representative for Military OneSource, a Department of Defense-funded program that provides a variety of support for active-duty military members. Also attending as an honored guest was David Patterson, Sr., Navajo Code Talker.
The celebrations at the Montoya Campus will be at the same time on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and will follow a similar agenda. Presenting the flag will be the 47th Regiment Honor Color Guard.
“Today, we formally honor all of our military veterans, and those who are currently serving our country home and abroad,” Winograd said. “But I encourage everybody to honor our veterans and military personnel every day of the year and to keep to keep them in your thoughts. I also want our veterans to know that CNM is here for you.”
Also on Monday, CJ Muniz from the CNM Marketing and Communications Office provided lunch to some 40 veterans at the Main Campus cafeteria. This is something she has done for the past five years. On hand were veteran faculty and student employees, as well as veterans from Financial Aid & Scholarship Services, Duplication & Postal Services, the Budget Office and Academic Advisement. The caterer was Garcia’s Kitchen. Patterson’s entire family was treated to lunch as well.
“It’s an honor to provide them lunch. The veterans get one day a year. It makes me feel good to do it,” Muniz said.
A “Missing Man Table” was also featured at Monday’s flag-raising ceremony, and it will be at the Montoya ceremony on Tuesday. The table is a way to honor missing service members. The table is found at all U.S. military cafeterias and is reserved to honor the missing. Set for six, the empty places represent Americans still missing from each of the five services and from the civilian population.
Another activity for the week will include Veteran’s Resource Day on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Organizations from CNM and the community that offer veterans assistance will be on hand in the Student Services Center foyer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Veterans Appreciation Day will be Nov. 14 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Veterans will be invited to come for cookies, coffee and punch near the CNM Main Campus cafeteria and near the Montoya Campus cafeteria. Nov. 15 will be Veterans Recognition Day. Veterans will be presented with lapel pins or ribbons in their honor. Veterans are invited to stop by a table outside the VetSuccess Center on the first floor of the SSC to pick up their honorary pins or ribbons. Students and staff are asked to thank veterans for their service on that day as well.
“We are encouraging all veterans and everyone at CNM to participate in these activities,” Romero said. “We want them to know how much we value what they have done for this country.” The events have been organized by the VetSuccess Committee, which operates through the Dean of Students Office.