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Red, White, Blue – Olympic College Celebrates our Military Community and Opening of the Veteran and Military Support Center

The event took place on a beautiful breezy spring day on Wednesday, May 18 at Olympic College Bremerton. It was a perfect setting for celebrating our Military Community and Veterans.

More than 100 people from across the college and community participated in the festivities. Guest speakers included Interim Vice President of Student Services Daniel Chacon, President Dr. David Mitchell, and Captain Pete Dawson, Commanding Officer of Naval Base Kitsap.  Becky Harris, a published poet and OC employee, recited two poems written for the ceremony to honor service members and families.

Peter G. Schmidt, Senior Associate Dean of Student Success and Retention at Edmonds College, also facilitated the signing of a pledge by Olympic College to be a Veteran Supportive Campus. Both Schmidt and OC President Mitchell participated in the signing. The pledge is part of a statewide effort by the state governor’s office, veterans administration officials and higher-ed agencies to help provide information and assistance to military personnel and veterans.

Dr. Mitchell said the commitment is appropriate because Olympic College has the second largest veterans population among colleges and universities in the state. Olympic College is one of 19 that signed the pledge with other state higher education institutions.

Allison Smith, who works at Olympic College and coordinated the event celebration, has a personal connection to organizing the annual event for active duty military each year at Olympic College. This year, Smith was impressed with the turnout.

“It warmed my heart. My son is an Iraq war veteran and it is so rewarding to know that the sacrifices that he and other veterans have made are truly appreciated by so many.  It just goes to show what a fabulous place Olympic College really is–we have so many caring individuals who work here and care about students,” said Smith.

After the tribute to military and veterans outside the Haselwood Library, the event moved indoors to celebrate the opening of the new Veteran and Military Support Center on the Bremerton campus. The new 1,300-square-foot Center is a place where service members, veterans and family members can get benefit information and share experiences to help each other succeed in life and at Olympic College. The opening of the Center kicked off with a ribbon cutting by veteran and Olympic College student, Terry Smith. Many donations contributed to the success of the Center’s opening, including artwork by local artist and gallery owner, Amy Burnett.

For more information about the center, please contact Daniel Chacon, interim vice president of Student Services at (360) 475-7473 or at dchacon@olympic.edu. This event was sponsored by Olympic College’s Veteran Support Group student club. For more information about the event, please contact Allison Smith at (360) 475-7100 or at asmith@olympic.edu.

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