Typically a combination of both somber and celebratory, the annual UW-Green Bay Chancellor’s Veteran Reception, held Monday, November 11, 2019, was no exception. The Phoenix Room was packed, as members of the campus and community gathered to honor vets and active military members.
As Chancellor Van Gruensven welcomed guests, she shared her personal story and pride in those who sacrifice and serve. Van Gruensven’s father, Robert Starck, Sr. is an 87-year old Marine and Korean War veteran, who still wears his scars, and, she shared, “has a purple heart in his memory chest.” Van Gruensven shared the pain of the tremendous loss suffered by her family, when a nephew, a former member of the 82nd Airborne Unit in the Army, passed from complications brought on by PTSD following multiple tours in the Middle East.
Jones, a UW-Green Bay Police officer, is a member of the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota, Air National Guard, and returned recently from active duty. But while he and his fellow soldiers have returned without casualty, he has witnessed plenty of it… especially in the States. Jones was an innocent bystander and concert goer at what has been labeled the “Las Vegas Massacre,” where 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured in October of 2017 at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Jones, a decorated officer, was able to use his instincts as a police officer and trained military to usher his friends and other concert goer to safety during the horrific few moments when a gunman sprayed the crowd with bullets from a nearby hotel room and then committed suicide.
Jones spoke to the packed room about life lessons in resiliency.
UW-Green Bay Music, once again honored the vets with an “Armed Forces Salute.”
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– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication