This week BYU campus is showing appreciation and support for veterans during Student Veteran Awareness week.
BYU College of Nursing students are also doing their part to honor veterans. Last year students donated a flat screen television for the Fillmore American Legion media center of the Legion hall. This year they plan to do the same.
After the great success of the donation, the Fillmore American Legion building has a new media center to record and display stories of veterans.
Dr. Kent Blad, associate dean and teaching professor and Ron Ulberg, assistant teaching professor co-teach the veteran section of the Public and Global Health Nursing course. The veteran section allows students to travel to various veteran-related sites and learn how to care for them.
“Our class motto was, ‘to know them is to care for them better,’” Emily Ingersoll a senior nursing student says. “As we talked to veterans we gained a stronger foundation of how to care for them. I learned that in the end, it’s not about the numbers anymore it’s about the person.”
Other students found interest in the class because of the professors. “Kent and Ron had tears in their eyes and I could feel the love they had for veterans” Christi Swenson, nursing alum says. “I wanted to love the veterans like they did and decided to take the class.”
Wayne Jackson, veteran service officer from the Fillmore American Legion was very grateful for the donation. At the time, the media center only had microphones and cameras. Now, with the TV, veterans can watch, open up and share and record their stories for their family and others. It is open to the use of the county, schools, communities and families.
“The state and the nation both have been asking us to start recording veteran’s stories because we are losing a lot of history” says Jackson. “Thanks to the BYU students it makes it a lot easier. It means a lot to me, I’m not the only one in the whole world that went through what I went through, and I can go in and find guys that did what I did. It makes you proud of veterans everywhere.”
Nursing students got creative as it was up to each individual student to voluntarily donate any amount while doing personal service. Some made GOFUNDME accounts and sent it to friends and family, others did babysitting or other types of service. The students were surprised how many people helped donated for the veteran’s cause.
“Kent and Ron were really adamant about the fact, that they didn’t just want us to give our money out of our bank account,” says nursing alum Torrie Robinson, “We had to do something to earn the money. They really wanted us to get others involved and give others a chance to show appreciation for our veterans.”
The class presented the TV to Post 61 American Legion Fillmore Commander, Terry Scottorn, with a big red bow. Afterwards they ate lunch and listened to a veterans panel.
“The veterans panel was one of the highlights,” Robinson says. “It was really neat to hear from these heroes firsthand. It seemed like the very least we could do for these people.”
Many students said it was very special to serve the American Legion veterans in Fillmore. The class as a whole learned to understand the needs of the veterans. With the 2016 nursing students currently preparing to donate another flat screen TV, the media center will have two new TVs to record and view others’ stories for the future.