A Color Guard
presentation by members of the Trenton Central High School Junior
ROTC opened Mercer County Community College's special tribute to
its student veterans on April 16 at The Conference Center at Mercer.
Executive Brian Hughes, MCCC President Patricia Donohue, MCCC Veteran
Services Coordinator Paul Scheid, and Executive Dean Diane Campbell
were among the campus and local community members in attendance.
Keynote speaker for the event was Eugene Marsh, a Bronze Medal recipient
for his service in Vietnam who serves on the MCCC Foundation Board
and is currently pursuing his degree in Architecture at the college.
Dr. Donohue and Scheid presented 12 veterans with certificates of
appreciation, including one to Mr. Marsh. Other honorees included
Charles Alexander, Melissa Axtell, Michael Bustin, Christopher Collins,
Roxanne Cruz-Cortez, Tim Klockner, Pia Odom-Barkdale, Marco Ramirez,
Francis Ramos, Cheryl Smolinski and John Wright. The event is part
of a broader initiative to serve current and returning veterans
on MCCC's West Windsor and James Kerney campuses.
Marsh, president/CEO of Construction Project Management Services
in Princeton, passed on words of encouragement to the assembled
veterans. "Many vets do not wear badges or medals, but there
is nothing greater than men and women putting their lives on the
line to defend their country. You have courage." He recognized
the thousands who are struggling after recent deployments. "I
see myself where you are. You are not alone. Your destiny is within
yourself. Take advantage of obtaining an education and continue
to move forward."
MCCC Nursing student Jose Burgos, a readjustment counseling technician
at the Veterans Center in Ewing, is among students doing just that.
A marine serving on a medic team in Iraq, Burgos was injured in
2006. He maintains that his past has not sidetracked his goals.
"I feel honored and blessed to be with a lot of good people
here," said Burgos, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal recipient.
"I tell people the best thing in my life has been to come to
MCCC. I feel I'm at home here.
participants included, from left, MCCC Veterans Services Coordinator
Paul Scheid, MCCC President Patricia Donohue, Executive Dean Diane
Campbell and keynote speaker Eugene Marsh.