Dinner ceremony recognizes veterans and military students


Olivia Ruf/ Iowa State Daily

Iowa State ROTC Tri-Color Guard presents the colors during the 7th Annual Community Supper.

Olivia Ruf

The Iowa State Veterans Center hosted the 7th Annual Community Supper to show support for military students and to honor those who have served.

The community supper took place on Wednesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The event welcomed all students, community members, veterans and their families during Veterans Week.

The night started off with a social hour, which included music provided by Hymn and Her, a co-ed a capella group from the Iowa State department of music and theater. The a capella group filled the Great Hall with music as everyone began filing in for the event.

The ceremony officially began with the presentation of the colors by the Iowa State ROTC Tri-Color Guard. After the presenting of the colors, Hymn and Her performed the National Anthem.

Will Reinig, junior in political science and student veteran, gave a speech honoring those who have fallen and those who have not come home from war.

“Our neighbors, friends and family, here we honor them.” Reinig said.

Valeria Pena Medina, junior in pre-business and member of the Iowa National Guard, spoke about her experience of being a veteran, stating “it is one of the best decisions of my life.”

Vernon Hurte, the dean of students, took the stage to give remarks. He began his speech by thanking the speakers before him and those who have helped provide support to students and veterans, specifically, the Veterans Center.

“Iowa State recognizes the barriers that students may face. This evening is a way to say thanks,” Hurte said. “Our students deserve to see and feel the presence of our community, that’s why nights like tonight are so important. We are dedicated to the success of our veterans and military affiliated students. The skills and leadership that student veterans receive from the military and technical training provide a different perspective and demonstrate a strong sense of discipline and teamwork. The experiences roughly 2,500 ISU students veterans share with their peers adds to the overall educational mission of Iowa State University.”  

Following Hurte’s speech was the recognition portion of the ceremony. The first award went to Hal Schenck, a professor and chair of the math department. This award was presented by Jathan Chicoine, director of the Veterans Center and program coordinator for the Dean of Students Office.

The next recognition was to the Iowa State University Math Department for their determination to help student veterans succeed academically. This award was presented by Samantha Speltz, academic success assistant of the Veterans Center. 

The final recognition went to Ed Astarita, chef de cuisine of Campus Dining Services, to thank them for catering for the community supper. This recognition was presented by Laura Olson, leadership and programming assistant at the Veterans Center. 

The night was then concluded by the Iowa State ROTC Tri-Color Guard retrieving of colors.

Larry Auburn, a crisis line operator, veteran and attendee of the event, discussed the importance of events like the community supper and places like the Gold Star Hall in the Memorial Union. 

“Every story matters,” Auburn said. “They are struggling with what they went through. Events like these help to connect veterans.”

The community supper was the second to last event of Veterans Week on Iowa State’s campus. The last event will be “Vietnam Veterans: Still Coming Home” which is a lecture presented by Steve Feimer. This event will be taking place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the South Ballroom of the Memorial Union.