Waynesville vet to deliver pledge at commencement

Waynesville vet to deliver pledge at commencement

Monday, May 13, 2013

Media Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Dennis Peters, OTC's Veteran Student Services representative, has a bullet from the Civil War sitting on his desk that he looks at every day.

#"It sits right under one of my monitors so, when I type, it is in my line of sight. It helps remind me that someone, somewhere is in a position to be shot or is being shot in order to protect us and our freedoms, my son being one of them," he said.

"If we can honor the veterans and remind all those in attendance that our freedoms are provided, protected, and ensured by the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services, then that is what we should do."

It's that reminder that has veterans being specially recognized at this year's OTC commencement.

The 65 veterans graduating Thursday will be wearing special red, white and blue honor cords designating their status. There are approximately 900 veterans enrolled at OTC.

"Every year, not just at OTC but at every college, graduation ceremonies honor and recognize the achievements of those who graduate. None of this is possible without the men and women of the Armed Services," Peters said.

In addition to veterans wearing the honor cords, Jacqueline Griffin, a student from OTC Waynesville and U.S. Army veteran who spent a year in service in Afghanistan, will lead the audience and graduates in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Griffin volunteered to recite the pledge. She said it will be an honor.

"When I say it, I think about the troops who are still deployed. I'm proud to be an American. I've been to other countries and saw how different they can be. We're lucky to be in a great society," she said.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt will present the commencement address at the ceremony to be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus. In addition to all graduates and their families, the public is invited to attend the ceremony.

Missouri state Rep. Diane Franklin will receive the college's fourth annual Distinguished Alumni Award. Franklin, a Republican, represents parts of Camden and Laclede counties (District 155) in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations for Ozarks Technical Community College.