Friday, October 31, 2014

Student veterans raise support for local soldiers

Students hurrying to class March 29 and 30 may have noticed a pair of uniformed Marines standing in the back hallway of DeMoss behind a table adorned with nothing but a few pairs of combat boots. The men were raising money for an outreach event for local veterans.

Support our veterans — Students were given the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the Student Veterans Group dinner. Photo credit: Omar Adams

One of the men was Cpl. Jared Delello, president of the Student Veterans Group. He said the group was planning a steak dinner for local veterans that would be catered by Texas Roadhouse and would include veteran guest speakers and a free book on dealing with combat stress from a Christian perspective.

Delello said it was a perspective that veterans do not get from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“While you’re in (the military), you have a chaplain there, but when you get out, you really don’t have anything spiritual able to help you deal with these problems through the government,” Delello said. “This (dinner) is a way to come at it. It’s evangelism, and it’s a way to show our appreciation in the most valuable way, I think.”

One of the night’s guest speakers is a Lynchburg area veteran who received a Purple Heart while serving in the Vietnam War. Delello is also hoping to get a World War II veteran to speak and has invited one of the former commandants of the Marine Corps as well.

Thousands of veterans live in the Lynchburg area — more than 1,000 are connected with the American Legion alone. The Student Veterans Group was hoping to raise $500 to make the event possible. In just two days, students, faculty and staff donated $550. Delello said the group appreciates that support.

“At the end, we were counting (the donations), and I looked at my friend and said, ‘It feels good, doesn’t it?’” Delello said. “It does feel good to have that kind of support.”

The dinner has been scheduled for 6:30 April 15. Contact the Student Veterans Group at veterans@liberty.edu for more information.

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