A week of Lone Star College-CyFair activities from Nov. 6 to10 honored student, employee and community veterans, who served in the Armed Forces and made great sacrifices to preserve freedom.
Among the highlights of the week was a “Salute to Our Veterans” lunch program held for 100 college and community veterans at the Barker Cypress campus and the closing ceremony with retired Texas Army National Guard Soldier and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris Hernandez.
The Nov. 8 lunch program featured the Posting and Retiring of the Colors and remarks about Veterans Day and Veterans resources at LSC-CyFair. Retired U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant and LSC-CyFair’s Veteran Affairs Center coordinator Ed Monsivais gave an explanation of the “Fallen Comrade Table” and accompanying toast to all those who died for this country. Retired Army Command Sergeant Major Michael Eyer spoke about the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The program ended with a cake-cutting ceremony and placement of flags along the college’s waterway.
“Some veterans are reluctant to participate in college events and activities, keeping to themselves mainly because of the age difference,” said Monsivais. “However, many veterans look forward to this yearly event to celebrate with like-minded individuals and those who have shared the same experiences. This is always an opportunity to honor our brothers and sisters in arms, provide a good meal and share comradery.”
Hoping his audience at the Nov. 10 ceremony gained an understanding of why soldiers do what they do, Hernandez shared how two decades of military service influenced his writing career.
“Chris had us all riveted with his own story and we appreciated his thoughts about the physical and philosophical results of combat, both good and bad,” said LSC-CyFair’s Claire Gunnels, who emceed the closing event. “It was a tribute to all veterans to hear his story.”
Author of the modern military fiction novels “Proof of Our Resolve,” “Line in the Valley” and “Safe From the War,” Hernandez began his writing after his deployment to Afghanistan.
“I was in some pretty intense fights, but I was never hit. I wake up every morning thankful for that. During those fights, some good people were killed near me,” he said. “That sucks, but I'm also thankful for the opportunity to serve alongside people who truly believed and lived the concept of ‘dedication unto death.’”
Among the other activities of the week was a Q&A with LSC-CyFair History Professor Robert O’Brien following a Vietnam 50-year Commemorative film screening.
A “Thank You for Your Service” banner and poster were available at the Barker Cypress and LSC-Fairbanks Center, respectively, for the campus community to write well wishes and messages of gratitude to veterans. In addition, photos of student and employee veterans along with their rank, years of service, and military branch were submitted for a “CyFair Home of Heroes” virtual honor board on the college’s home web page.
Celebratory events drew approximately 160 people at the LSC-Cypress Center and the LSC-Fairbanks Center enjoyed mid-week celebrations with cupcakes and flags. Attendees at LSC-Fairbanks Center also heard from guest speaker Denzel Goodman, Student Services Specialist, who shared a Veterans Day message of appreciation.
LSC-CyFair’s Veterans Affairs Center, located in the new Center for Academic and Student Engagement, serves approximately 1,400 veteran students and their families, providing campus and community resources and assistance as well as celebrations in honor of their service and sacrifice. For information, contact Monsivais at 281.290.3266.