MCCC Pays Tribute to Student Veterans

4/20/09


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.

Mercer County 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.

MCCC staff and invited guests, including student veterans.
Program participants included, from left, MCCC Veterans Services Coordinator Paul Scheid, MCCC President Patricia Donohue, Executive Dean Diane Campbell and keynote speaker Eugene Marsh.
The program began with a Color Guard salute by members of the Trenton Central High School ROTC.

 

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