veteran awards on a tableGraduating veterans from Moraine Park Technical College had an opportunity to participate in the second annual Hail & Farewell ceremony on May 10 2018.

The event, which was held at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus in the Park Terrace Restaurant was established to recognize graduating veterans and allow staff and faculty a chance to interact with graduates outside of the classroom.  Steve Pepper, Student Veteran Specialist for the college added, “this event also recognizing the fact these veterans have once again demonstrated their dedication to completing a mission and are now moving on to another phase of their lives.”

Moraine Park’s President, Bonnie Baerwald welcomed the graduating veterans and their guests and provided the ceremony’s opening remarks. Remarking “today is bittersweet, because we are excited for our graduates but sad to see them go” and reassured the graduates Moraine Park will remain here for any future training they may need. There was also an unexpected guest, Moraine Park alum, and recent addition to the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) Rob Vande Zande, who provided words of encouragement. Vande Zande a 2016 graduate, emphasized anything is possible, and told guests of his struggles after losing his leg but pushing himself to remain positive and complete his degree.

veteran presented with award

During the ceremony veterans were presented with a red, white and blue honor cord and the school’s challenge coin. The cord’s colors are reflective of our nation’s flag, and the cord itself represents academic achievement and excellence and sets the recipient apart from other graduates. The challenge coins are mirrored after the one’s typically presented to service-members for achievements above and beyond their normal duties.

Immediately following the ceremony, everyone was treated to a fantastic lunch put together by students in the culinary arts program under the supervision of culinary arts program instructor James Simmers.

To learn more about Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.

Stephen Pepper
Written by Stephen Pepper
Student Veterans Specialist