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Veterans and Military Appreciation Day, hosted by the East Central University Veterans Upward Bound Program, is set for Thursday, May 23, at the Bill S. Cole University Center on the ECU campus.

Vendors will have tables of information available throughout the day, beginning at 8: 30 a.m. Workshops will be conducted at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. At 11 a.m., an appreciation day program will be held, followed by lunch at noon.
The 9 a.m. workshop is entitled “The Mission Continues” by Jason Crane. The 10 a.m. workshop is being conducted by Bart Culver, of the VA Educational Benefits Division of the Muskogee Regional Office and the 1 p.m. workshop is “Operation College Promise” by Wendy Lane and Rod Davis.
The event is free and open to the public.
Crane, an Air Force veteran, is currently the Fellowship Recruitment Associate for Mission Continues for both the Midwestern and Western Regions. He was a Missile Systems Space Specialist, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. and serving honorable until June, 1995.
Mission Continues is a program which challenges veterans to serve and inspire in communities across America. Mission Continues awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans, empowering them to transform their own lives by serving others and directly impacting their communities.
Mission Fellows serve for six months at a local nonprofit organization, addressing key educational, environmental or social issues. Each Fellow works to achieve a post-fellowship goal of fulltime employment and/or pursuit of higher education, while maintaining a permanent role of public service.
In the 10 a.m. session, Culver will present information about VA educational benefits.
The 11 a.m. program, followed by the presentation of colors from the Chickasaw Nation Honor Guard, will focus on student success stories and there will some students make brief comments. Also making comments during the program will be Maj. Gen. Myles Deering and Chickasaw Nation Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel.
The 1 p.m. session will focus on the unique composition and offerings of the Operation College Promise program and its professional development initiative – the Certificate for Veterans’ Service Providers (CVSP) – a 2 1/2 –day training to assist service providers to gain the knowledge base to support veteran students.
The sessions will also include a presentation by Davis, director of the Veterans Support Office for the Texas A&M University System and OCP advisory council member, highlighting best practices among A&M’s campuses. He oversees programs at 11 A&M system universities, seven state agencies and a health science center.
Davis served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Korea during the Vietnam era and later worked in the media at a number of publications in Texas and the South. He is the author of three books, including two novels, and was recently inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.
Lang is the director of Operation College Promise for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities. Lang is responsible for program and policy initiatives, as well as managing annual state budget responsibilities. Since developing OCP in 2008, she has served as the director, as well as managed program, outreach, public relations and partnership development.
For more information on Veterans and Military Appreciation Day, contact Mary (Huckleberry) Meeks, director of the ECU Veterans Upward Bound Program, at 580-559-5541 or .

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