HCC honors its veteran community in solemn ceremony
Nov 11, 2016
Gratitude and admiration filled the room as HCC officials and administrators gathered for the 2016 Veteran Day Celebration to honor the commitment of the men and women in uniform who served, and continue to serve, in the military.
“We cannot repay for your sacrifice,” said HCC Board Chair Adriana Tamez, “Your valor and respect have safeguarded our freedom for over two centuries and it has preserved the opportunity that every one of us benefits from,” she said as she addressed a large group of HCC student and employee veterans.
Two components highlighted the celebration; the unveiling of a special Proclamation by HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado and a presentation made by the HCC College Office Professional Association to honor and remember members of the HCC family who are no longer with us.
HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado described the relationship between the college and its student veterans as one of great promise for the future.
“We are privileged to be part of the lives of the veterans. We will be expanding the presence of the HCC Veteran Affair office and you are going to see more of that very soon,” said Maldonado.
“Thank you veterans for your service, for your dedication, and for protecting our country and returning to our communities. In many ways you are our champions for education.”
One of these champions is HCC former student veteran and Purple Heart recipient Ewing Jamal James, who expressed heartfelt emotions to fellow servicemen.
“Everyday is a reminder for me that I am one of the lucky ones who came back and live my dreams," James said. "It is an honor to be here and to study. It is a privilege to help veterans and be an example for others.”
James, whose call to service came after the September 11 attacks, now holds a bachelor in science and works at the HCC Veterans Affairs office assisting students in their transition to civilian life.
“When I imagine myself,” said James “I imagine that the guys are me, the guys that are still there fighting that want to defend America’s freedom each day."
Leon Grisset, director of the HCC Veterans Affairs office, referred to the appreciation he feels towards colleagues and close collaborators. “We serve those who served prior to us.” He then encouraged HCC veteran students to remember three pivotal values of the armed forces.
“Fierce, courageous and strategic,” Grisset said. “As you embark on your educational journey I want you to continue to have these words in mind."
During the ceremony, several HCC veterans lined up to receive official Veteran lapel pins and commemorative ribbons from HCC Chief of Staff, Melissa Gonzalez. Closing the ceremony with a memorable pledge was HCC Vice Chancellor of Student affairs, Dr. Athos Brewer.
“I am going to pledge that I will improve the lives of all our veterans,” Brewer said. “We will look at accelerated programs of success for veterans. And I mean, all of us. We are going to be here for you.”
To learn more HCC Veterans Affairs program visit www.hccs.edu/veterans
Please watch a replay of the special event above and please see HCC Chancellor Dr. Cesar Maldonado's Veterans Day Proclamation below.