“Today we are here to honor those who have served our country and given their lives so that we may stand here and still live in freedom,” he said. “We need to be constantly reminded of our gift of freedom and those who gave all to make sure future generations continue to know life in a free, democratic society.”
Commissioner Deputy Director Frank DeMarco discussed benefits for veterans in Gloucester County, including access to its veterans affairs office. Rowan provost and Vice President of Academic Services Brenden Rickards commented on the free education provided to veterans at the college’s campus.
“When I look at the student population, the students that really stick out to me are our veterans,” Rickards said. “So on behalf of the college, welcome to Rowan College of South Jersey. Thank you for the sacrifices and service that each and every one of you have provided as veterans.”
Commissioner Dan Christy, liaison to the veterans affairs office, also spoke.“I know sometimes, me included, that we take our lives for granted,” he noted. “But we are in the greatest nation in the world, and it’s only because of our veterans that fight for it every single day.”
Christy then presented a proclamation to Rowan student and Marine veteran Vinu Joseph, naming him the annual Student Veteran of the Year. The corporal was stationed in Fallujah, Iraq, where he patrolled city streets during the global war on terrorism. He received multiple military awards, including the National Defense Service Medal.
“I want to recognize all the veterans that have been in all wars: Vietnam wars, Iraq wars, Afghan wars, Gulf wars,” Joseph said. “Know that no matter where you are, know that you always have somebody to depend on. Don’t ever think that you don’t have the resources or the ability to talk to somebody.”
For more information on services provided through the Gloucester County Veterans Affairs office, visit the county website or the office in person at 211 County House Road, Sewell. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.