Millersville held a “Run, Walk, Roll” event in the quad on Monday, Nov. 12 in support of the Veterans Victory House. The marathon-esque event was organized by the Department of Campus Recreation along with the Veterans Resource Center.
Dr. Wubah welcomed everyone to the event at 4:00 p.m. after the Millersville ROTC’s Color Guard presented the colors while the national anthem played. He talked about the history of Millersville veterans and about how they are part of the campus community, and then pronounced the start of the event. “Today we walk, run, and roll in their honor!”
Yvonne Deblois, who is an administrator at the Veterans Resource Center, was the lead event organizer. “There is a relatively small number of veterans on campus, and they are spread across a lot of different departments, so they don’t always know about each other. This event gives them a little bit of visibility and lets them connect with each other.”
Deblois mentioned that this was a community building exercise as much as it was a way to raise awareness and funds for the Victory House. “We had to make sure that the event supported veterans. Veterans like to help other veterans.” While the final goal is to promote and financially support the VVH, there was a strong personal relationship element to the event. The Veterans Victory House is an organization that supports veterans by providing permanent housing solutions for homeless veterans.
Three veterans in particular stood out during the event: two guys wearing booty shorts, and a cheerful lady running in between them. Jess Shingara, Toan Tran, and Christopher Barns are all from different branches of service, but they shared a common experience on Monday: they were happy that there was even an event that they could go to in honor of Veterans Day.
“I think it’s a really great event. In the past, Millersville hasn’t really done anything more than a Facebook post,” Shingara said. She wasn’t expressing particular displeasure with Millersville, but talked more about how veterans and their needs, especially homeless veterans, are often overlooked. She mentioned that this run was a way to get the general university public involved, and not just the vets that already have a close bond.
“So we try and support it and give it attention,” Tran said as his beard flew in the cold wind. The group of three then sped up, trying to catch up with other veterans running around the circle track of the quad. Luminaries were placed along the path; each one had the name of a Millersville Veteran on it, or any veteran that a student wanted to honor, in support of their service.