By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice William Blees, Naval Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – More than 200 Sailors and civilians from the Pacific Northwest attended a military appreciation ceremony held at Olympic College (OC) May 21.
This is the fifth ceremony of its kind at OC to honor local service members who are furthering their education at the school campus, which also coincides with the city of Bremerton’s Military Appreciation Day, May 18.
“We’re proud to have the opportunity to serve military and their dependents,” said Dr. David Mitchell, Olympic College president. “[1,651] veterans attended Olympic College this year; that’s close to 20% of our student population.”
The guest speakers for the event included Mitchell, Capt. Pete Dawson, commanding officer Naval Base Kitsap, Capt. David Kohnke, commander Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport.
“This college using its own resources, time and personnel has opened its Veteran and Military Support Center,” said Dawson. “Our education system gives America its advantage … we have to keep our education system strong.”
The ceremony was open to anyone on campus who wished to attend, allowing people to respond during the ‘open microphone’ segment of the ceremony. More than 10 people shared their gratitude not only to the veterans and military, but to the college as well, for their continuous and ever improving support.
“We live in a community that not only understands but embraces the military,” said Kohnke. “Olympic College has been a strong partner in helping educate our workforce.”
With the number of veteran and active military students growing, the staff at OC hopes to continue advancing their support to ensure that the students are getting the best assistance possible, in part for recognition for their service.