A Veteran’s Week Celebration

A Veteran’s Week Celebration

By Brittney Payette

Managing Editor

Starting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 7 in the McMahon Centennial Complex lobby Cameron’s office of Veteran Affairs hosted this year’s VetFest in celebration of Veterans day.

The VetFest included a multitude of different events including a resource fair that had a variety of organizations present who had information and resources to help veterans and their families. Some of the groups who were present at the resource fair were the Student Veterans of America, Lawton Vet Center, Veterans Upward Bound, among others.

The VetFest also kicked off the festivities with a big bang at 10:15 a.m. when a salute howitzer was fired near the Bentley Gardens. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 7-8 Fort Sill Mascots Big Deuce the donkey and Shortround the goat visited the Cameron campus East of Bentley Garden.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 7-8 there were two Humvees on display along with the howizter and an Air Defense Patriot Launcher System.

Cameron’s Coordinator of veteran affairs Vicki Henson said VetFest is a fairly new concept that came about because the Veteran Affairs office wanted to do something fresh.

“We did it the first time ever in April,” Henson said. “This is our second VetFest that we’ve ever done… We pick a different focus everytime we do VetFest.”

Henson said Cameron’s Veteran Affairs office is a full service Veteran Affairs Office on the third floor of North Shepler in room 332. The office primarily helps with certification and the usage of VA benefits. 

‘We service our students by helping students to utilize their VA educational benefits,” she said. “We help them with the processing of their paperwork, plus we have to certify that the classes they are taking are something they need.”

“There is truly something for everyone on campus to come and enjoy at the VetFest,” Henson said.

Christopher Thomas from the Lawton Vet Center was one of the participants in the Veterans Resource Fair.

“We do readjustment counseling for combat veterans and their families,” Thomas said. “If an active duty member dies, the family members can come to us for counseling.”

 The Lawton Vet Center is located on 10 SW 2nd St, Suite 4 in Lawton, OK and they can also be contacted via their phone number (580) 585-5880.

Thomas said he loved VetFest a lot and was glad to participate with it..

“It’s always good,” Thomas said. “Really informal. I liked the variety of organizations here.”

Native American Nurse Navigator Michael Gardner said a big part of his job involves doing outreach, such as participating in Cameron’s Veterans Resource Fair. 

“We do have a clinic here in Lawton, on the base,” Gardner said. “We partner with Lawton Community Hospital. So, they help take care of our veterans, we pay for it.”

Gardner said he likes to come to events like this because it helps him provide Native American Veterans with helpful information.

“I like the idea of bringing these community resources together,” he said. “The VA wants to let the rural Native American Veterans know that we are still here available and through my outreach activities, I will bring those services to them.”   

To contact Michael Gardner for more information about the services the Oklahoma City VA provides for its Native American Veterans email michael.gardner@va.gov.

For more information about Cameron’s Veteran Affairs Office email vickih@cameron.edu or call (580) 581-230.

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