On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Bellevue College held an event in C120 where several students, staff and faculty gathered around the white clothed tables for one purpose; to honor those who have served for the U.S. The Veteran’s Day Luncheon was hosted by Aaron Malec, Bellevue College Association of Veterans president and Margo Geogian, assistant director of the veteran’s office and BCAV adviser.
The event began with a warm welcome by Malec followed with a song sang by Bev Reil, a BC music theory student. “I was recommended by Lyneen Patnoe, [ the theatre arts manager] because I just recently had a chamber music concert and she had heard me sing,” Reil stated. Reil sang “This Is My Country” and mentioned how she was there in support for not only the veterans of BC but her husband, who is also a veteran.
Vice President of Administrative Services, Ray White also made an appearance. “I am not a veteran myself, but I just want to personally show support and I believe just showing up is a great way to show that.” Within the past few months, BC has been putting in more effort to give back to veterans and finally serve those who have put everything on the line for their country. BC has made registration a definite priority, specifically for veterans, giving them the opportunity to register early to get the classes they need. Not only will veterans get priority registration with the quarters to come, but they have been working on giving veterans a place to call their own. White continued, “Finding space on campus for veterans, we kind of had some temporary space for a while but then we remodeled upstairs so that is the type of thing I could support.” White has a few goals in mind to help support veterans to the maximum capacity. “Something that generates a lot of pride for me when I see other campuses where the Veterans Center is a more obvious center location, where the college gives them prime real-estate in the central of the college. But as I have come to know veterans at BC, I am not sure if they want to be in a space that is showcased, but I would take my cues from our veterans and [future] veterans over time.“
Malec spoke about the purpose of giving veterans priority registration, “They get priority registration, and it is for people who rely on the benefit funding in order to live and it is very crucial that they get classes that they are allowed to take. If those classes are full, then they have no money to live and they have the option to scramble to get a job that can pay the rent, drop out of school or get classes they can’t take which just doesn’t work out, especially if you have a home life like a family, kids, you need to be home for your kids when they are out of school so this makes it a lot easier for veterans.”
Malec is also recruiting veterans, family members of veterans and non-veterans to be a part of BCAV. Additionally, he is working towards future goals by which BC can offer to help support BCAV as best as possible.
Before lunch was served, Malec gave a self-penned speech in which he said, “No one hates war more than a veteran and no one knows a better reason for war to be waged. For some to be safe, some must be in harm’s way; it’s really a matter of love and the belief in the saying; ‘for those I love I will sacrifice.’ These are men that will see the opponents of freedom draw their last breath before they see one of their countrymen weep for liberty under the tyranny of another man. They will stop at nothing and have victory at any cost. And for those they love, they will sacrifice.”