CSM cer­e­mony honors those who’ve served

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page -

Fit­tingly, guests of the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s An­nual Vet­er­ans Brunch on Nov. 12 ar­rived by pass­ing un­der a 20-by-30-foot Amer­i­can flag draped be­tween the ex­tended lad­ders of two lo­cal firetrucks.

More than 700 Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land stu­dents use Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs ed­u­ca­tion ben­e­fits, and the col­lege ranks fifth in the state for col­leges serv­ing cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies.

“It’s lit­tle sur­prise that within the state of Mary­land, South­ern Mary­land has among the high­est pro­por­tion of vet­er­ans when com­pared to its adult pop­u­la­tion within St. Mary’s, Charles and Calvert coun­ties,” CSM Vice Pres­i­dent of Op­er­a­tions Bill Comey said in a press release. “My fa­ther served in the Army, as did his fa­ther; and his fa­ther and so on back to when the first Comey in Amer­ica — David Comey — mus­tered out onto the Vil­lage Green in Lex­ing­ton, Mas­sachusetts to face the Bri­tish Army.”

When Comey’s fa­ther died last year, he left sev­eral fam­ily relics to his sons, in­clud­ing a bu­gle, a prayer book, cam­paign medals and a flag, all of which Comey dis­played for the at­ten­dees.

“These items cel­e­brate the life of my great-grand­fa­ther Bernard Comey,” he con­tin­ued. “In 1895, as a young man he sailed to Cuba to take on the Army of Spain as part of the Span­ish-Amer­i­can War. He was a 23-year-old Bu­gler in Com­pany B, Sec­ond Mas­sachusetts Reg­i­ment. In those pre-elec­tronic days, the role of the Com­pany Bu­gler was to com­mu­ni­cate or­ders to the troops. Ad­vance. Re­treat. Fire.”

Among one of his prized fam­ily heir­looms kept de­vot­edly through the gen­er­a­tions was a let­ter from which Comey read that was penned by his great-grand­fa­ther on July 5, 1895 from San­ti­ago, Cuba. “Read­ing these words — thoughts from a war-weary, but proud sol­dier on the bat­tle­field long­ing for home — helps me imag­ine what many of you also ex­pe­ri­enced or felt while you served our na­tion,” he con­tin­ued. “It helps me in some way to bet­ter ap­pre­ci­ate the sac­ri­fices you and your fam­i­lies made to keep Amer­ica safe and pro­tect the free­doms our na­tion en­joys. On be- half of a grate­ful na­tion, please ac­cept our ap­pre­ci­a­tion for your hon­or­able and faith­ful ser­vice.”

“On this day, we re­mem­ber the free­doms we have be­cause of our vet­er­ans,” said Mary­land State Sen. Thomas Mike Miller

Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince Ge­orge’s), who en­cour­aged vet­er­ans to en­gage with gov­ern­ment. “We need you to fol­low up your ser­vice and con­tinue to help our gov­ern­ment,” he said, point­ing out that vet­er­ans made great sac­ri­fices to sup­port the coun­try’s abil­ity to leg­is­late. My fa­ther was with Pat­ton’s third Army, I grew up at an Amer­i­can Le­gion Post, and the very first bill I spon­sored was the Vet­eran’s Ceme­tery bill,” Miller con­tin­ued. A cho­rus of thanks were also de­liv­ered from Calvert County com­mis­sioner-elect, CSM alum­nus and Viet­nam vet­eran Tim Hutchins, and state senator-elect and U.S. Air Force vet­eran Arthur El­lis.

Hunt­ing­town High School stu­dents per­formed at the brunch with a pre­sen­ta­tion of col­ors by the school’s NJROTC Color Guard fol­lowed by a mov­ing a cap­pella ren­di­tion of the na­tional an­them by the Hunt­ing­town High School Choir, un­der the di­rec­tion of Cho­ral Director San­dra Griese. Calvert County Fire Ser­vice Chap­lain Larry Patin pro­vided the in­vo­ca­tion and CSM Stu­dent Vet­er­ans Or­ga­ni­za­tion Pres­i­dent Jeremy Foster guided the at­ten­dees through the “miss­ing man and honor cer­e­mony” in re­mem­brance of the na­tion’s pris­on­ers of war and those miss­ing in ac­tion.

“Not only do we honor and cel­e­brate the con­tri­bu­tions and sac­ri­fices of these in­di­vid­u­als, but we also want to rec­og­nize their fam­i­lies,” said Foster, who served in the U.S. Army and is in his third year at CSM, du­ally en­rolled at UMUC in the cy­ber­se­cu­rity pro­gram. “To­day is cer­tainly an ap­pro­pri­ate time to cel­e­brate the con­tri­bu­tions of mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and to con­vey to them re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the sac­ri­fices they make to sup­port their ser­vice mem­bers.”

CSM’s com­mit­ment to vet­er­ans is re­flected in nu­mer­ous ways. The col­lege is ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and the Mary­land Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion, so that el­i­gi­ble vet­er­ans, ser­vi­ceper­sons and cer­tain de­pen­dents of vet­er­ans can re­ceive VA ed­u­ca­tional ben­e­fits for credit cer­tifi­cate and as­so­ciate de­gree pro­grams as well as some Work­force De­vel­op­ment pro­grams.

A lounge where stu­dent vet­er­ans can gather to study and so­cial­ize is avail­able at the La Plata cam­pus and CSM has hired vet­er­ans af­fairs co­or­di­na­tors to ad­vise stu­dents. Vet­er­ans are offered a 15 per­cent dis­count on tu­ition for in­di­vid­ual fit­ness and pool mem­ber­ships.

For the fourth straight year, CSM earned the Mil­i­tary Friendly School Des­ig­na­tion from Vic­tory Me­dia for at­tract­ing and sup­port­ing stu­dent vet­er­ans and spouses who are tran­si­tion­ing from the mil­i­tary to civil­ian work­force.

To see more pho­tos from the event, go to https://csm­photo.zen­fo­lio.com/18vetb­fast. For more in­for­ma­tion about To CSM’s vet­eran and mil­i­tary sup­port ser­vices, go to https://www.csmd. edu/stu­dent-ser­vices/ vet­eran-mil­i­tary-sup­port-ser­vices/.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Heir­looms of the Comey fam­ily, in­clud­ing a bu­gle, a prayer book, cam­paign medals and a flag, were on dis­play and ex­plained dur­ing the Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram re­marks.

Hunt­ing­town High School’s NROTC cadets C/ENS Sam­mie Zei­gler, left, C/LCDR Gaby Ro­driguez, C/LT Mar­garet Foulkes and C/Chief Cor­rina Curtin presented the col­ors dur­ing the an­nual Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram at the Prince Fred­er­ick cam­pus.

“On this day, we re­mem­ber the free­doms we have be­cause of our vet­er­ans,” State Sen. Thomas Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince Ge­orge’s) said dur­ing the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land break­fast. Thanks were also de­liv­ered from Calvert County com­mis­sioner-elect CSM alum­nus and Viet­nam vet­eran Tim Hutchins and state senator-elect and U.S. Air Force vet­eran Arthur El­lis.

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