By JIm Turner
In addition to honoring veterans in attendance during the annual Veterans Day Ceremony in a beautiful outdoor setting Wednesday, faculty and staff of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College were encouraged to become associate members of SKYCTC s Student Veterans Alliance.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Teresa Ward said she envisions SKYCTC s becoming
the college of choice for veterans. Every day would be Veterans Day at SKYCTC.
Ward, who is co-advisor of SKYCTC s Veteran Veterans Student Alliance and is an Air Force veteran herself, handed a $20 bill to SVA President Chris Hickman, enough for two years membership.
If faculty and staff join the SVA, we can have our own large banner for Veterans Day parades in our service area and send one or more SVA officers to the National Student Veterans of America Conference, said Ward, who presided over the gathering of students, faculty, other veterans and anyone else who wanted to pay tribute to those who serve and have served.
Hickman spoke about the organization s mission and noted that as a member of the Indiana
National Guard he is about to conclude his twentieth year of service but plans to
reenlist for another six-year stint.
Provost Maggie Shelton introduced the featured speaker, SKYCTC Director of Student Success Shawn Stovall.
A native of Russellville where he was a successful athlete, Stovall graduated from WKU s ROTC program as a second lieutenant in the mid-eighties as a Distinguished Military Graduate. A field artillery officer who attended airborne and ranger schools, he served in Germany before being called to support Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He served seven years and achieved the rank of captain as a Battalion Fire Support Officer in the 8th Infantry.
After leaving the military, he worked in a variety of leadership roles in manufacturing, healthcare and consulting before becoming part of the leadership team at SKYCTC. His wife Carla was present for the ceremony.
\Stovall read a letter he has kept in his army trunk for decades from a friend in the marines, congratulating Shawn on the birth of his first child. The letter was filled with good-natured ribbing from an old buddy. It was light hearted as he told about his experiences in helicopter training.
He died shortly after that when his helicopter went down, Stovall said, emphasizing the risk that members of the military take regularly.
Stovall said that while many veterans have good jobs like the one he relishes at SKYCTC, there are far too many veterans who have physical, emotional and financial problems. He talked about veterans who are not only unemployed but also homeless, noting that has happened in his own extended family.
He urged everyone present to support veterans and other organizations designed to
assist them, including SKYTCTC s SVA.
Student Robey Carson began the program by singing the National Anthem.
To learn more about the Student Veterans Alliance, email either Stovall at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ward at email@example.com.