Staff Sgt. Jared Spude — you might recall his selection as the Outstanding Student from among his May 2015 graduating class of roughly 1,000 students — is being featured again, this time as the primary speaker at the 2015 Veterans Day Reception at 4 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 11) in the Union’s Phoenix Room. Fellow veterans Elaina Koltz and Lou LeCalsey will also deliver brief remarks. Open to all.
Nicholas Gries, a nontraditional student at UW-Green Bay, has had many experiences in his life that have made him the man he is today. But it is his military experience that drives his current passion to dive further, dig deeper — both at the University, and in service to his community.
“The number one thing that the military has taught me is not to be content with my situation; you can always do more…” says Gries, a business and finance major. “The military has also taught me to set my goals high and work hard until the mission is complete. We do not fail. We make mistakes, learn from them, and get back up and try again.”
Gries served as a fire team leader in in the 1st Ranger Battalion of the United States Army from 2002 until 2006. In 2010 he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard as a squad leader. In 2012, he joined the National Guard full time, in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) as a non-commissioned officer, a position he maintains today.
Gries was one of the two founders of 4th HOOAH WI (Helping out our American Heroes), a local branch of a national organization dedicated to supporting deployed service men and women, their stateside families and returning veterans. Gries has also helped establish a scholarship at UW-Green Bay for continuing service men and women, or veterans of the armed forces.
“I am president of 4th HOOAH WI, and we look at any and every way possible to help Veterans and their families,” he says. “I am a firm believer in higher education for everyone so this is one way we can help veterans and their families reach the goals they set out for themselves.”
This year, Veterans Day (Wednesday, Nov. 11) will be a little more hectic for Gries, who is an organizer of HOOAH WI’s major fundraising effort of the year —the third annual Veteran Suicide Rucksack March — a 22-mile walk/run/march beginning at Stadium View Bar and Grille, 1963 Holmgren Way. At 4 p.m. that day, HOOAH WI will be recognized, with other veterans’ scholarship donors, at UW-Green Bay’s annual Veterans Reception at 4 p.m. in the University Union.
(The expression “hooah,” incidentally, has no precise dictionary definition, but is instantaneously recognizable to service members and veterans (mostly Army) as military slang — a confident, catch-all expression of high morale, cohesiveness and motivation.)
Gries, a Bay Port High School graduate, said he was initially drawn to UW-Green Bay because of its sound business program and the school’s location, but he has been impressed after the fact that the campus provides the non-traditional student an ideal opportunity for degree completion.
“I am not a traditional student…The thing I like the best about the campus and school is the times of the classes, allowing me to make it to my full time job…All of my instructors have been more than understanding…I believe nontraditional students are more than welcomed and treated as peers.”
For more information about the Third Annual Veteran Suicide Rucksack March.
Story by student Emily Schuh, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication Office
UW-Green Bay held a solemn and meaningful Veterans Day event Tuesday (Nov. 11), welcoming campus and community for the annual Chancellor’s Veteran Reception in the Union’s Phoenix Room. Chancellor Gary L. Miller welcomed attendees on behalf of himself and wife Georgia, also in attendance, expressing his gratitude for the service of veterans from all branches of the U.S. military. UW-Green Bay student Major Gena Selby offered the event’s keynote remarks, noting both the sacrifices of deployed service personnel and those of their support systems back home. “Each of you has these stories of separation,” she said, “I am forever grateful that my support network made my service possible.” Story and photos.
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.”
Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.
– Photos by Eric Miller, photographer, Office of Marketing and University Communication
UW-Green Bay veteran services adviser Elaina Koltz and two members of the Vets 4 Vets student organization got some airtime Tuesday (Nov. 11) morning, appearing on two local news shows to promote today’s Chancellor’s Veteran Reception and related activities. Koltz got up extra early to appear on the NBC 26 Today morning program, and she was joined later on by students Terry Spangler and Jared Spude for two segments on Local 5 Live. As a reminder, the Chancellor’s Veteran Reception takes place from 4-6 p.m. today in the Union’s Phoenix Room, and is free and open to the public. You can watch all three of this morning’s segments, listed here in chronological order, by clicking the links:
NBC 26 Today
Local 5 Live
Local 5 Live, Part 2
The Local 5 Live morning show will air two live segments from campus Tuesday (Nov. 11), previewing that day’s Chancellor’s Veteran Reception and the associated Veterans Week activities. Veteran services adviser Elaina Koltz will be featured in a segment that airs at approximately 9:20 a.m., while student Vets 4 Vets club members Terry Spranger and Jared Spude will be interviewed during the second segment, at about 9:45. Tune in to WFRV, Channel 5, or catch the segments on the Local 5 Live website after the fact. For more information about the Chancellor’s Veteran Reception, which is free and open to the public, check out our news release.
UW-Green Bay will host its annual Chancellor’s Veteran Reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, welcoming campus and community to honor all who have served. This year’s event will feature UW-Green Bay student Major Gena Selby, who will speak about her experiences as commander of C Company in the Ashwaubenon-based 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion. Chancellor Gary L. Miller also will speak, and he and Selby will present certificates of appreciation to student military members who are present.
Later in the week, campus and community veterans can attend a veteran services open house (2-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 in MAC 124), and attend the Phoenix men’s basketball game at no cost during Veteran Appreciation Day (3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 at the Resch Center). Our news release has further details.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will kick off a week of events celebrating campus and community veterans with the annual Chancellor’s Veteran Reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11 in Phoenix Room B of the University Union on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
The annual Veterans Day event is held to recognize all campus and community veterans, as well as individuals currently serving in the military. This year’s reception will feature UW-Green Bay student Major Gena Selby, who will speak about her experiences as commander of C Company in the Ashwaubenon-based 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion. Selby is working toward her second bachelor’s degree at UW-Green Bay, majoring in Art and Arts Management. Chancellor Gary L. Miller also will speak, and he and Selby will present certificates of appreciation to student members of the military who are present. Refreshments and a social will follow.
“The annual Chancellor’s Veteran Reception allows us to pause and remember the contributions and sacrifices of those who have served,” said Elaina Koltz, UW-Green Bay veteran services adviser. “This event offers the chance to express, in a very real and meaningful way, the gratitude we feel year-round.”
UW-Green Bay has 368 individuals receiving veteran benefits, including 108 dependent spouses and children. That number is expected to increase to more than 400 by the end of the academic year, Koltz said. Twenty of those receiving benefits are currently in the National Guard and Reserve. UW-Green Bay’s Vets 4 Vets student club has about 15 active members.
For six years running, UW-Green Bay has been named a Military Friendly School, an honor bestowed by Victory Media Inc. that recognizes the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to embrace military service members and spouses as students, and to ensure their success on campus. Last winter, the University dedicated the At Ease Veteran and Service Member Lounge in Mary Ann Cofrin (MAC) Hall.
Additional veterans week events are as follows:
Veteran Open House, 2-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, At Ease Veteran and Service Member Student Lounge, MAC Hall 124. Attendees can visit with local veteran services representatives from the Wisconsin Job Center, Green Bay Vet Center, Green Bay VA Health Care Center, Brown County Veterans Service Office and Green Bay Center for Veteran Issues. Refreshments will be served.
Veteran Appreciation Day, 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, Resch Center, Green Bay. UW-Green Bay Athletics invites all veterans in the community to attend the Phoenix men’s basketball game at no cost. There will be a special recognition of those in the community who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will celebrate a brand-new space for student veterans with a dedication event at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14.
The “At Ease: Veteran & Service Member Student Lounge” recently has opened in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall, Room 124, as a space for veterans to gather for support, socialization, studying and more. Veteran Services Adviser Elaina Koltz announced formation of the new center Nov. 11 during the Chancellor’s Veteran Reception on campus.
“Our new veteran center will help build camaraderie among the veterans and service members here on campus, facilitating and enhancing a much-needed network of support for these students,” Koltz said. “Providing this space is one way for us to acknowledge their experience, which often differs from that of nonmilitary students — and also to thank them for their service.”
UW-Green Bay created the center due in part to the grassroots efforts of student veterans, who said it is important for them to have their own space on campus. Student vet Ken Corry of the Vets 4 Vets student organization, who will speak during Friday’s dedication, spearheaded the efforts. Chancellor Tom Harden also will speak during the dedication event.
Creation of the new veteran center is just one way in which UW-Green Bay has ramped up efforts to serve student veterans in recent years. The November Chancellor’s Veteran Reception kicked off an entire week of events including an awareness walk, volunteer organization panel, military speaker, veteran picnic and more. UW-Green Bay graduate student Mike Crum led a collection drive for homeless veterans, and members of the UW-Green Bay community wore military-insignia apparel to show support for military members and veterans.
UW-Green Bay has more than 400 individuals receiving veteran benefits, including 302 veterans and service members, as well as more than 110 dependents. In fall 2013, UW-Green Bay was named a Military Friendly School for the fifth consecutive year, an honor bestowed by Victory Media Inc. that recognizes the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to embrace military service members, veterans and spouses as students, and to ensure their success on campus.
More information about Veteran Services at UW-Green Bay is available at www.uwgb.edu/veterans/.
The newly expanded Veterans Week is continuing at UW-Green Bay, with Thursday’s guest speaker and Friday’s picnic still on tap. As we told you here previously, the week’s events kicked off Monday (Nov. 11) with the Chancellor’s Veteran Reception — we’ve got a story, photos and local news coverage from that event, below. Tuesday (Nov. 12), the University and its Vets 4 Vets Club hosted a Community Veteran Volunteer Organizations Round Robin, in which area orgs presented information and answered questions for campus and community service members. The 5K Veteran Awareness walk/run was to take place on the Cofrin Arboretum Trail this morning.
Veterans reception story, photo gallery
WFRV, Channel 5 story / Local 5 Live segment and segment, Part 2
UW-Green Bay press release on week’s events