Honoring All Who Served


Utah Valley University’s Veteran Success Center celebrated Veteran’s Day during a weeklong commemoration of those who have, do, and will serve the nation.

“Once the center opened in 2015 we created Veterans Week,” said Sheldon Holgreen, director of the Veteran Success Center. “We wanted to hold a week of events because a day is great, but we wanted to have events for the week, not just to recognize veterans but their families as well.”

The theme for this year’s celebration, Nov. 11-15, was “Honoring All Who Serve: Past, Present, and Future.” It kicked off with a breakfast on Monday morning for all student, staff, and faculty veterans sponsored by the UVU History and Human Resources departments. 

The community was invited to a program that evening that included remarks from UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez, and Sergeant Elinor Carrick, a member of the Utah Army National Guard, who served in Operation Desert Storm. She spoke about the importance of veterans receiving the care they deserve. Carrick shared the podium with Col. (Ret.) Willis who grew up in a military family and served in Iraq. Willis is also the former commander of Camp Williams. Willis’s awards include the Iraq Campaign Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star, and Legion of Merit. Ryan Vogel, a national security expert, and director of the Center for National Security Studies at Utah Valley University, also spoke. 

UVU’s History Department sponsored two separate panels on Tuesday, one including Vietnam Veterans and the other one for family members of veterans. “We brought in school children from the local community so that they could connect with and hear the stories,” Holgreen said. 

A series of Meals Ready-to-Eat (more commonly known as MRE) tastings were also held during the week, with 1,275 people stopping by to try the less-than-gourmet fare. MRE’s are special lightweight meals created by the U.S. military to provide military personnel with essential nutrients that are easy to carry on the go. 

Students, faculty, and staff were treated to a movie screening of “They Shall Not Grow Old,” a documentary film that uses original World War I footage and audio from soldiers sharing their war memories. 

“Through the activities of Veteran’s Week, we want to create a welcoming environment for our military-connected family,” Holgreen said, “we support all military-connected people.”

The Veteran Success Center also strives to provide scholarships to those with military service. These scholarships help to fill in the gaps to help cover additional costs of schooling. “We want to look for opportunities to help keep individuals with military service in school and help them complete their degrees,” Holgreen said. 

In the past three years, the Veteran Success Center awarded $20,000 in scholarships and has plans to create an endowed scholarship. 

“We are here to help UVU and to help all our students, specifically our military-connected,” Holgreen said. 

A POW informaton booth at UVU's Veterans Week

Students sampling MRE meals during Veterans Week at UVU

A children's choir performing at the key note event at UVU's Veterans Week.