Veterans Day events

Variety of events surrounds Veterans Day this year

November 6, 2019
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

Above is the logo for the Saint Michael’s Chapter of Student Veterans of America. The photo below shows Ken O’Connell.

The Saint Michael’s College campus has been busy — and will continue to be in the coming week and beyond — with events related to military veterans surrounding the celebration of Veterans Day on November 11.

Reporter Kiernan Brisson at Burlington-area TV news station WCAX Channel 3 reported about one event at Saint Michael’s on Sunday, November 3: “Local vets shared stories and memories about their time in service at the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael’s College in Colchester,” she reported. The goal was to help veterans speak openly about their experiences and allow the community see and understand them in a different light. “I’m not a veteran myself, [but] I think the least we can do is listen to each other,” Kristen Eaton, an organizer of the event, told the WCAX reporter. One speaker at the St. Mike’s event was Jon Turner, who served in three separate deployments, two in Iraq, within the first three years of the conflict. He told the reporter he is “happy veterans are getting the chance to share memories of their service.” Two similar “Veterans Town Halls” took place in Rutland and St. Johnsbury the same day.

Ken O’Connell, Saint Michael’s director of military community enrollment and resources, mentioned several activities in the works beyond last weekend’s Veterans Town Hall: on Wednesday evening, Nov. 6, he said, “A VT Paws and Boots Founder and Trainer is coming with some of her Service Dog Team …. And we’ll be in and around Alliot and Hoehl in early evening followed by the showing of a film, A New Leash on Life, in Hoehl Welcome Center.

On Friday, Nov 8, to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday a few days early since more people can attend than on the actual weekend birthday, Fr. Ray Doherty, S.S.E. ’51, a Marine veteran, and Nathanial Strausser, the youngest Marine veteran on campus, were to cut a special “birthday cake” during the lunch hour in Alliot Hall. Neil Fitzgerald from Sodexo for several years has made the special effort to create a beautiful and artistic cake for the occasion. Fr. Ray explains: “Neil is himself a Marine veteran of Desert Storm. His father, a naval officer, was killed in the Vietnam War and has a ship named after him (the USS Fitzgerald).”

On Monday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day itself, Fr. Ray will celebrate the daily Mass in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel to honor veterans at 4:30 p.m.,; later that evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., a fun obstacle course race event in the Tarrant Recreation Center will be sponsored by the Student Veterans of America campus chapter, with t-shirt giveaways, and any member of the community invited to compete. “Even if you’re not competing, come on down,” O’Connell said.

Fund-raising activities this semester through the campus veterans group and O’Connell’s office include the 4th annual “Dine for Cause” fundraising night at Texas Roadhouse in Williston, Tuesday, November 5 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., to support the Josh Pallotta Fund providing safe spaces for veterans via Josh’s House VT, an area wellness recreation center; on Friday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be a “Thank – A – Vet” activity. “We will be in Alliot providing a time for students to write thank you notes in order to attach them to care packages going to veterans from the community currently deployed,” O’Connell said.

He said the College also is accepting donations to the Joe Maloney Military Fund. This fund has been created by Mrs. Marilyn Maloney in loving memory of her husband, Lt. Col. Joseph P. Maloney, Jr. ’60. The Donor and other donors may make additional contributions to this account. Resources in this fund is to be used primarily for current, full or part-time, Saint Michael’s College students who are active duty U.S. military, veteran students, dependents of veterans or students who have been admitted to and are participating in the U.S Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC). This fund may be used to cover expenses to support veteran, current military, dependents or ROTC students with professional development activities related to job and career advancement. This may include, but not limited to, conferences, seminars, training workshops or network gatherings. If you would like to make a gift in support of the Joe Maloney Military Fund, contact Ken O’Connell at

Finally, O’Connell said, “We are asking our alumni veterans and community members for assistance in sending Saint Michael’s students to the SVA National Conference in Las Angeles, Jan. 3-5, 2020. The conference is a professional development and networking event that will promote further success of our students in creating more programing to assist our Military Community Students on campus and in their careers beyond Saint Michael’s College, thus fulfilling our mission.” To learn more about the National Conference please visit


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