CPP honors members of the Armed Forces

By Sofia Garcia and Erin Han, November 15, 2022

The Cal Poly Pomona Veterans Resource Center held its annual Veterans Day celebration in the Recital Hall on Tuesday, November 8, to celebrate the veteran community and their service.

US Senator Susan Rubio, CPP Chair Soraya M. Coley and about 100 guests were able to participate in the Veterans Day celebration.

The event was hosted by keynote speaker Vishal Amin, a United States Marine Corps veteran and RPC veteran.

“On Veterans Day and every day, I want every veteran in the room to not identify as veterans, but what do you do with that sense of identity to make an impact. I ask all military families and communities in the room to do the same,” Amine said.

According to John Offenburger Espinoza, veteran RPC ambassador for the business college, this event helps shine a light on veterans who have suffered the psychological effects of training and combat and who have sacrificed their lives.

Offenburger Espinoza acknowledges the amount of PTSD and stigma placed on a member of the military; Veterans Day is a great time to raise awareness about the challenges veterans face in their daily lives.

“As a veteran, I can understand that, because sometimes you’re asked to do things that you don’t want to, but you have to do it anyway.” said Offenburger Espinoza.

The VRC encourages those affected by trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder to seek resources on campus such as counseling and psychology services, as well as student health and wellness services.

According to Offenburger Espinoza, any student can visit the VRC to view resources available to the entire campus community.

“Most students on campus don’t know that the VRC is open to all students no matter what,” Offenburger Espinoza said.

The VRC offers a variety of resources to support student veterans and dependents. Services offered include counseling, scholarship opportunities, career workshops and veteran recognition events.

For Thomas Verdin, a geology student, Veterans Day is an important time to honor those who fought for our country.

“Veterans Day for cadets is about respecting those who came before us,” Verdin said. “Thanking them for their service and for teaching us the things we know and allowing us to practice the profession in their place.

Verdin is a member of the CPP’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. According to Verdin, he and his fellow cadets learn, throughout their service, the daily life of an active member of the armed forces and the values ​​he carries.

During the event, the ROTC performed a color guard for veterans. Attendees were able to stop at the Staff Council booth to write greeting cards to current members of the US Armed Forces.

Erin Han | Post Poly

“My favorite part, I’m a little biased, but it’s probably the color guard,” Verdin said. “We work a lot with the Veterans Resource Center, and I really enjoy working with them, so any time I do a color guard for them, it’s always very special to me.”

Along with the color guard, the CPP Wind Ensemble performed a Veterans Day medley, featuring songs like John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” CPP Group Manager Rickey Badua said his favorite part is always seeing the smiles and energy of CPP veterans.

“We served our veterans on campus through our music,” Badua said. “I think music always brings people together and it’s usually a party.”

According to Offenburger Espinoza, military service is a passion because he believes in upholding the U.S. Constitution and being the first to help in times of disaster.

“I want to be part of the action. I want to be there whenever America needs us,” Offenburger Espinoza said. “I want to be the first to help in the best way possible.”

The observance was not only important for the veterans themselves, but also for educating veterans to those who don’t always think about observing Veterans Day.

“It exposes veterans to the rest of the school,” Verdin said. “It’s the little things at the end of the day that say a lot … like getting the band to play, or bringing in a guest speaker, or bringing in President Coley – little things like that really add up and mean a lot. ”

Featured image by Erin Han