Veterans live a life of service, on and off duty

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. . . “ Those are the first few words of The Oath of Enlistment for enlisted service members of the United States military.

With Veteran’s Day quickly approaching, my news editor asked me to write an opinion piece on what Veteran’s Day means to me and its greater significance on the general population.

The Veteran’s Affairs definition of a military veteran is “personnel who have served on active duty and discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.” Whatever reasons motivated our men and women to enlist, their actions speak louder than most of my words ever will and Veteran’s Day honors them and their service.

But when I think of the men and women who serve, I can’t help but think of the thousands of other civilians and contractors who serve and support their operations on a daily basis. And I think it’s important to note their contributions as well. Families and peers may not don the U.S. nametape on their left shirt pocket, but they sacrifice their loved one who has or is serving to provide the liberties we all enjoy.

A service member’s military mission may be complete once they receive their DD214 discharge papers. But for a handful of them, their watch doesn’t end once their uniform is removed and placed in storage.

Some veterans are motivated to continue their service. MNSU’s Veteran’s Club member Leah Langdon is a Marine veteran and current graduate student at MNSU. She is currently a teaching intern instructing two sociology courses. She is planning to research women’s veteran’s issues in the Veteran’s Affairs health administration.

Matthew Hillesheim is a sophomore who studies I.T. and is currently serving as a 25B (Computer Information Technology Specialist) in the Minnesota National Guard. He is interested in pursuing a part-time volunteer fire-fighter position after graduation from MSU.

Sean Farnham, a 13F (Forward Observer) is studying law enforcement, and hopes to obtain a position as a conservation officer upon completing his degree.

Michael Maaninen, a Marine who served as a 0311 (Infantryman), is pursuing a Recreation, Parks and Leisure degree. Upon completion, he will re-enlist and continue his service as an Infantry Commissioned Officer.

MNSU Alumni and military veterans Chris Jansma, Dave Wentzel, Chris Hinton, Nathan Tish and Mike McLaughlin all serve the local military veteran community as employees of either Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, or County Veterans Service Officers.

Others start their own businesses, for and non-profit. Select few attempt to tackle the issues of veteran homelessness, mental health, suicide and legal problems.

It’s impressive how committed our veterans are to giving back to their communities after their initial service.

From all of us at The MNSU Reporter and MNSU, from the citizens of Minnesota, and the country, thank you all for your service, and your continued service upon separation of your service obligation.

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