Fox-11 did a nice job in capturing Saturday’s commencement for Jared Spude, the political science and Public Administration major selected Outstanding Student of UW-Green Bay’s May 2015 graduating class. They interviewed both Spude, a National Guard staff sergeant who enrolled at UWGB after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and veterans services coordinator Elaina Koltz. Nice story.
On June 6, UW-Green Bay Veterans Services Coordinator Elaina Koltz intends to take part in the “Carry the Fallen Ruck-March” fundraising event in Green Bay. She’ll be joined by her daughter, Jenna (a May UWGB grad), and son-in-law Brandon. The “Ruck-March” is a long-distance in which participants carry a heavy pack in respect to the emotional weight carried by some U.S. military vets that leads to too many veteran suicides. The 501c(3) charity Active Heroes is the organizer. The Koltzes are marching in memory of Jeremy Pearson and for his parents, Kerry and Karen. Money pledged through the Koltzes will go toward the goal of creating a military-family retreat center offering programs for veterans and their family members aimed at curbing the suicide rate, forging veteran/community bonds, building camaraderie and boosting morale. There’s more info on the fundraising event at http://carrythefallen.org/about/. Visit the Koltz page.
Jared J. Spude of Sturgeon Bay is the May 2015 recipient of the Outstanding Student Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association. He will receive the award May 16 at a student award ceremony on campus, on the eve of spring commencement.
Spude is earning his bachelor of science degree with a near-perfect gradepoint average and summa cum laude, or highest honors, having completed majors in Political Science and Public Administration.
The UW-Green Bay Alumni Association, which has been designating a single Outstanding Student Award recipient for each graduating class since 1976, recognized Spude for his undergraduate success as student, researcher and volunteer in service to others. He was nominated and selected from among approximately 930 graduating seniors eligible to receive diplomas at May commencement.
Originally from Brussels, Wis., Spude graduated from Southern Door High School in 2008 and immediately joined the U.S. Army. After serving two years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and completing secondary job training, he was deployed to the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division. He enrolled at UW-Green Bay within months of leaving active duty in November 2011. He began service with the National Guard that continues today with his work as a training instructor at Fort McCoy and the Wisconsin Military Academy.
At UW-Green Bay, Spude has been active in both academic and community-service initiatives. He has contributed in several campuswide advisory roles, sharing a student perspective with University leadership. Within his Political Science academic unit, he participated in a student-faculty task force that helped develop curriculum, draft the syllabus, and conceptualize a new capstone class and project to be required of all future majors.
Spude devoted significant time and energy to Phuture Phoenix, assisting administrators of the pre-college program with grant applications and behind-the-scenes management. He also gained first-hand experience as a mentor to participating grade school, middle and high school students, and served as coordinator for the Phuture Phoenix tutoring program at Green Bay West High School.
His advanced-level research in public policy addressed the complex issue of state of Wisconsin allocations to local K-12 school districts. His research findings supported the view of many small, rural districts that they are treated inequitably by the current formula. He shared this information with his hometown Southern Door School District and various legislative officials. Spude was chosen this spring for appointment to the University’s internship program with the Office of the Mayor of Green Bay. He worked closely with the mayor’s chief of staff, focusing on research and services related to economic development and entrepreneurship.
In his spare time, Spude has worked as a WIAA-sanctioned football and basketball official, local radio announcer, public-address announcer for high school sports, volunteer varsity basketball assistant, and as music ministry leader for his Brussels parish.
With help from many quarters, the TRiO Upward Bound high school students and the Vets 4 Vets Club here on campus exceeded the goal of making 800 hand-made holiday cards for veterans. Kudos to all who donated their time and creative talents to this very worthy cause. Write the organizers of the initiative:
“We are extremely grateful for your help and support. Some cards were mailed, but destined for the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King were hand-delivered by Elaina Kolz and Michael Casbourne. (They were amazed at the size and extent of the services offered at the facility. It is literally its own self-contained little city.) The residents were excited to see the volume and creativity of the cards, each with a hand-written note. A spokeswoman at the facility commented that this is the only card some vets will receive. We are very proud, and humbled, that we were able to bring smiles to so many veterans’ faces.”
In addition, blankets and media coverage
The drive to bring holiday cheer to military veterans (see previous item) was the Upward Bound program’s December community service project. They also did more. The pre-college program’s participating high school students also crafted more than 20 blankets for local shelters. They also made cards at the Green Bay Botanical gardens, and both these events were covered by WFRV-TV 5 news on Thursday, Dec. 17. “Again, thank you to all who helped. And Upward Bound, what a way to make a difference!”
Elaine Koltz of veterans affairs shares an update: Thank you to all who have donated to the UWGB Vets for Vets “Adopt a Veteran Family” project. UWGB V4V has joined up with NWTC to adopt a veteran family in need. We still need your help for a UWGB Veteran and her family this Holiday Season. Any denomination is welcome. We will be purchasing gift cards to present to the family on Dec. 19… and collecting gifts right up until the 18th. If you would like more information, revisit our previous post or contact Elaina in the Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-465-2065. “We very much appreciate your support and wish you and your families the very best of the holiday season.”
Green Bay area high school students in the Upward Bound program, hosted in the TRiO and Precollege office under the leadership of Michael Casbourne, are teaming up with veterans on campus to help bring holiday cheer to Wisconsin veterans. The little town of King (near Waupaca) is the site of a residential veteran’s facility with 720 residents. Upward Bound is looking to send a homemade holiday card to every resident. A tall order — but by partnering with the campus vets club, and devoting Upward Bound’s December community service hours to this project, TRiO will have a head start on this ambitious undertaking but will still need your help: “Please consider making a holiday card thanking a vet. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. We will personalize the card, and together with members of the Vets 4 Vets Club, deliver the cards on Dec. 14. We need all cards turned in to the TRiO office by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10. Wouldn’t it be great if we had enough cards to give each veteran two cards? Please help us spread the holiday cheer!”
When the UW-Green Bay men’s basketball team opens regular-season play Saturday afternoon (Nov. 15) at the Resch Center, players will be wearing custom red-white-and-blue accented jerseys with their regular numbers, but their own names replaced by the names of fallen members of the military. For instance, instead of “Sykes,” the back of senior guard Keifer Sykes’ jersey will read “Opicka,” in honor of Lance Cpl. Dean Opicka, a Waukesha native who died in April 2008 during combat operations in Iraq. Learn more. Also, there’s Sporting News coverage.
The UW-Green Bay community celebrated and remembered campus and community military veterans Nov. 11, honoring them with the annual Chancellor’s Veteran Reception in the Phoenix Rooms of the University Union.
The UW-Green Bay Veterans Day tradition honors past and present service members from all branches of the U.S. military, and specifically recognizes UW-Green Bay students who have returned to school to obtain their degrees.
“This is indeed a great honor as an American, and as someone who has benefited from the veterans in this room,” Chancellor Gary L. Miller said, offering welcome remarks on behalf of himself and wife Georgia, also in attendance. “We are so grateful for your presence today.”
UW-Green Bay student Major Gena Selby offered keynote remarks for the event, noting not just the sacrifices of veterans, but also of their support systems back home. She recalled not being there for her mother’s surgery due to a deployment to Iraq, and missing her grandfather’s funeral due to serving in Afghanistan. What got her through, Selby said, was the unwavering support of friends and family.
“Each of you has these stories of separation,” she told the veterans in attendance. “I am forever grateful that my support network made my service possible.”
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– Photos by Eric Miller, photographer, Office of Marketing and University Communication
We told you here yesterday — and shared a few photos — about UW-Green Bay’s role in the terrific on-field military tribute that took place prior to Sunday’s Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field. Today, we’ve got a new photo gallery that offers an up-close look at the main event, which featured UW-Green Bay student and alumni veterans (and their guests) helping to hold one of four giant American flags that were unfurled in conjunction with a patriotic card stunt and fireworks display. Local 5 News featured several of those photos in a Monday night story, speaking with UW-Green Bay student vets Heather Olmsted and Ramon Vasquez about the once-in-a-lifetime flag-bearing experience. You can check out our photo gallery, and the news story, by clicking the links:
UW-Green Bay News
Local 5 News
UW System President Ray Cross today announced the creation of a new University of Wisconsin VETS (Veterans Education and Transition to Success) certification that will recognize campuses that demonstrate exceptional commitment to helping student veterans succeed. “Thanks to a strong commitment by our Governor and the legislature, Wisconsin provides the most comprehensive veterans educational benefits in the nation,” said Cross. “The UW VETS certification process will give us the opportunity to shine a light on our institutions that are going above and beyond in serving student veterans.” A panel including UW System representatives and external stakeholders will evaluate campus applications. For more, see the news release.