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Amid heightened military actions across the globe, it is a reminder of the importance of remembering and honoring the past, present and future contributions of veterans to the Colorado Mesa University campus community, the region and the nation. On Nov. 10, CMU President John Marshall sat down with the Veterans Affairs (VA) Western Colorado Health Care System Director Richard Salgueiro and the CMU Student Veterans Association (SVA) President Nicholas Williams to discuss the profound impact veterans have on our community, and the resources and supports that are available to them in gratitude for their service.

During the Civic Forum discussion, Salgueiro highlighted some of the challenges of providing mental and physical health support to veterans in western Colorado. With over 30,000 veterans spread across 15 counties in the hospital’s service region, finding ways to support those living in rural communities and frontier locations is vital. Many veterans who served in World War II and during the Vietnam War often have difficulty driving long distances to receive care. In response, Salgueiro and the VA has clinics in Montrose, Craig and Glenwood, Colorado, and one facility in Moab, Utah. The VA also has a mobile medical service that provides audiology and prosthetics services to veterans in the most remote areas.

Williams shared that CMU currently serves around 400 veterans and veteran dependents, both of whom are entitled to educational benefits and support through the SVA. Williams has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that veterans face while working to complete their degrees and now uses his experience to support veterans as they accomplish the mission of earning their degrees and working to make the world a better place in this new chapter of their lives. He works to support veterans by helping them with tutoring services, scholarships and wrap-around benefits. He is also a counselor who understands the importance of having other veterans to talk with while navigating the challenges of being a non-traditional student and provides counseling to student veterans at CMU.

Apart from this Civic Forum discussion, CMU celebrated Veterans Day through a variety of events during the week. On Nov. 10, CMU extended its gratitude to the veteran community by providing a free lunch in the cafeteria. A sincere "Thank you for your service" echoed through the campus, acknowledging the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families.

On display throughout the week was also a special event exhibition titled Never Forgotten: Remembering Veterans, Celebrating Service at the Tomlinson Library. The library hosted this special event starting on Nov. 8 which will run through Nov. 15, showcasing a moving display near the reference stacks on the first floor.

The exhibition featured postcards for sending thank-you messages to currently deployed service members that will be sent out through a collaboration with A Million Thanks. It also included a diverse array of artifacts shared by veterans, allowing students and visitors to gain insight into the experiences of those who served and a collection of veteran-related print books and a mini-eBook takeaway for students, faculty, staff and community members to access the books for free through the Libby app.

Veterans Day offers a prime opportunity to highlight the various veteran resources available on campus throughout the year. These include the Tutorial Learning Center (TLC), Veteran Services Tutoring, the Veteran Laptop Rental Program, as well as counseling and benefits facilitation from the Student Veterans Association. CMU is committed to providing a supportive environment for veterans to thrive both academically and personally.

To learn more about the educational benefits available for veterans and their dependents at CMU and CMU Tech, visit the CMU Veteran Services FAQ page.


Written by Giff Walters