Saint Leo Hosts Military Recognition Event for Community, Veterans
November 14, 2017
Honoring veterans and lending them a hand were the goals of the second Military Recognition Event (MRE), which was held at University Campus on November 9.
Sponsored by the Office of Military Affairs and Services, the event featured many services to aid student-veterans and veterans from the surrounding community. CareerSource Pasco Hernando held a Veterans Hiring Fair, which allowed community members, students, and alumni to have their résumés reviewed and meet with business and organizations representatives.
“I’m looking for a career that offers me growth and advancement possibilities,” said Christopher Maher of Wesley Chapel. Maher joined the U.S. Army in 2011, joined the U.S. Air Force in 2014, and now is inactive ready reserve.
In addition to employment opportunities, Saint Leo’s MRE provided opportunities for assistance with housing, education, stress relief, and more.
Jose Caban, associate vice president of Facilities Management, led student-veterans as well as Saint Leo employees and other students in art therapy. They painted bright, abstract works on canvases. “I enjoy painting personally,” Caban said, “and sharing it with veterans. You can’t make a mistake. Just paint!”
Dr. Geoffrey Sherman of Body Mechanix Acupuncture and AcuVeterans offered acupuncture for those attending the MRE. The nonprofit AcuVeterans offers acupuncture for veterans and first responders to help them deal with pain as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sherman offers “battlefield acupuncture,” which was developed by the U.S. Air Force, he said.
“I started getting involved [in helping military and first responders] after 9/11,” Sherman said. “I care about making sure veterans get the help they need.”
Furry friends of veterans also made an appearance at Saint Leo’s MRE as representatives of K9 Partners for Patriots and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office brought therapy dogs and a K-9 officer-in-training to the event. The mission of K9 Partners for Patriots, based in Brooksville, FL, is to “give veterans and active military a second chance at life by honoring and empowering those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Military Sexual Trauma through the experience of training and caring for their own service dog,” according to the nonprofit’s website.
Corporal Jim Hall of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office brought black Labrador retriever Mac to the MRE. Mac, who is 18 months old, is in training to be a full-fledged K-9 officer for the sheriff’s office.
Member of the Francis Marion Military Academy drill team performed a demonstration under the watchful eye of Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., university president and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general. “Permission to leave the drill field, sir?” the team asked, and Lennox responded in affirmation.
Those participating in Saint Leo’s MRE did not have to eat MREs (meals ready to eat) but rather were treated to a lunch sponsored by USAA insurance as a thank-you to all those who have served or are serving their country.