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November 12, 2013

A military-friendly campus in the Valley

Ivy Tech’s recent efforts demonstrate focus on educating veterans and service men, women

TERRE HAUTE — The Wabash Valley campus of Ivy Tech Community College showed Monday why it is among the nation’s most military-friendly institutions of higher learning.

More than 100 people, including several student veterans, turned out for the college’s annual Veterans Day celebration in Oakley Auditorium. The event featured music, remembrances and special moments to honor military veterans and their families.

“Thank you for your service,” was the message of the day, notably from Lisa Moore, who quoted from a recent email she received from a relative now serving in Afghanistan. Her relative recently lost a good friend in the fighting there, Forrest W. Robertson, 35, of Kansas. Robertson was killed in an enemy assault Nov. 3 in Logar Province, Afghanistan. He left a wife children behind, Moore noted.

Judy Brown, who served in Iraq and is part of the Wounded Warrior Project, a national organization, bestowed “Quilts of Valor” to several veterans at the program. Brown and friend Madonna Babyak have made hundreds of the quilts, she said.

Among those receiving a Quilt of Valor at the ceremony was Brandon McGuire, who served in Afghanistan in 2011-12 and is just starting his education at Ivy Tech. His wife, Carrie, served in Iraq and was also at the ceremony.

Patriotic music, performed by the IvySingers, was another large part of the program. When the group sang Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.,” members of the audience stood, held hands and sang along.

The program, now in its fourth year, is designed to honor all military veterans at Ivy Tech, including students, faculty and staff, said Gary Busiere, Ivy Tech Veteran Support Coordinator. Busiere, a 38-year military veteran, takes pride in the efforts the college is making to help veterans make the best of a higher education.

“No number of medals or ribbons can comfort those who are left behind” when a serviceman or woman is killed in the line of duty, Busiere said. He led the event in a moment of silence followed by a playing of taps, also known as “Day is Done” or “Butterfield’s Lullaby.”

About 170 veterans are enrolled at Ivy Tech’s Wabash Valley campus receiving federal educational assistance through the G.I. Bill, Busiere said. His role is to help them assimilate into college and make the most of their education, he said. Veteran students tend to be about 10 years older than other students, Busiere said.

Victory Media, a company owned by veterans and dedicated to their causes, has ranked Ivy Tech in the top 15 percent of the nation’s most military-friendly colleges, universities or trade schools, Busiere noted.

For more information about services available to veterans at Ivy Tech, contact Busiere at 812-298-2464.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or


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