For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has earned the 2016 Military Friendly® School designation. The designation reflects positive marks in ten categories including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, military spouse policies, and more.
“It is definitely an honor to be considered a Military Friendly institution,” says Elaina Koltz, UWGB’s Veterans Services adviser. “Not many will understand exactly what these veterans have gone through.
“When they sign up for their GI Bill, they present their DD214 discharge papers and I get a small peek into their sacrifice. I see the Purple Heart awards; the discharges due to service-connected disabilities and the long periods of time spent in a combat zone.”
Koltz says that she and UW-Green Bay staff colleagues see it as an honor to serve these veterans and their families.
“When you are surrounded by these silent heroes on a daily basis it is an honor to serve them,” she says. “Then you see them graduate and become successful like Staff Sergeant Jared Spude, selected speaker for UW-Green Bay’s Veteran’s Day Reception on Nov. 11, and you are again both inspired and humbled. UW-Green Bay recognizes these sacrifices and responds. That is why it is considered a Military Friendly institution.”
UW-Green Bay alumnus Spude is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and Wisconsin National Guard. He presented an impassioned speech on behalf of Veterans, calling those in attendance to think about veterans and those who serve each day, and not just once a year.
Spude thanked the faculty, staff and administration on behalf of his fellow veterans for “going above and beyond to make sure that our needs our met, and for providing us with the tools to be successful in our educational endeavors.”
The following are some other excerpts from his Veterans Day remarks:
“I’m here to remember, encourage, motivate and challenge each and every one of you to reflect on what today is, what it represents, what the sacrifices remembered here today have brought for us and the great nation that we call home. I’m here to remind us that we all need to take a little time out of our day today—and every day to remember those who have served.
“Winston Churchill said, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” …That is what Veterans Day is all about. As a nation, we have flourished because we’ve always had citizens willing to stand up and answer the call to serve in hours of need. Today, we honor our veterans, past, and present, for their sacrifice and dedication to our great nation.
“As Americans we forget too often and too quickly what it took and continues to take to be alive… even on a day like today, we want to celebrate, bringing in a little pomp and circumstance when too often we forget about what this day is really about — solemn remembrance, peaceful reflection, active thankfulness.
“My call to action and challenge for you this Veterans Day 2015 is to remember Veterans and all they have done not only today, but every day. Thank a Vet. Find time. Make time in your days to reflect for one minute about what it means to be free and remember the sacrifices it took. Make time to educate your children, serve in your community, help others and most importantly live a life that is worthy of the sacrifices Veterans made to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I challenge you today to find a veteran every day. Whether it is your teacher, your coach, your neighbor, or that guy that sits next to you in church and thank them. Thank them for their service. Thank them for their courage. Their commitment. Their sacrifice. I call you to action. To take time out of your day to stand here and look at old glory. Think about these veterans and other veterans you know. Have some pride for this flag and for our country and in our liberty.
“On this Veterans Day, there is so much to commemorate, and so much more to be thankful for. We would not be where we are today without the heroes we call veterans. Today we have the privilege of honoring this very small and special group of Americans, whose service spans every decade of our country’s existence. We owe them so much. But most importantly we owe them our freedom. And today, especially, we owe them our gratitude. Thank you —and God Bless America.”
Jared Spude is a 2008 graduate of Southern Door High School. He was named UWGB’s outstanding graduate in May 2015. He and his platoon served in Afghanistan. His role was to serve as a master navigator and coordinator from the ground as his platoon controlled fires of mortar tubes and artillery cannons. He continues to serve in the Wisconsin National Guard as an Instructor at the Wisconsin Military Academy, Fort McCoy — which is recognized as one of the outstanding artillery training institutes in the nation. He works full-time as a client services manager for Breakthrough Fuel, in Green Bay.