Community Veterans Day events to look at past and present

November 7, 2014

Harper College will observe Veterans Day on Tuesday, Nov. 11, by honoring those who served in the past while also exploring the challenges facing those currently returning from international conflicts.

The community is invited to attend both events, beginning with a program recognizing the College's 41 employees with military service. John Patrick Roche, a hospital medic in World War II, will discuss his experiences. He'll be joined by several other WWII and Korean War veterans who also reside the Garlands of Barrington retirement facility.

The event will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Wojcik Conference Center amphitheater on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

Later that morning, Harper's International Studies and Programs will hold a panel discussion, "Life After War: Surviving and Thriving After Trauma" from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Wojcik, Room W218.

Charlie Bourne, a veteran and student, will join representatives from organizations including mental health agency Thresholds and Pets for Vets, which rescues, trains and pairs shelter pets with veterans who could benefit from a companion animal. A service dog will also be on hand.

Panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities military personnel face as they return from international conflicts and transition to life stateside.

According to the Center for American Progress, more than half a million veterans, dependents and active-duty military personnel are taking postsecondary courses, and most veterans enroll in community and for-profit colleges.

Associate Professor Pearl Ratunil said it's important to recognize not just the military service performed overseas, but the contributions and perspective veterans bring to campus.

"In many ways, the heroic feats are often left in combat situations," Ratunil said. "But for those of us who teach and study with veterans, we see the heroism continue as they adjust to life with new peer groups and academic challenges."

The program is part of Harper's International Studies and Programs' "Peace-building Series: Teaching Conflict, Trauma and Peace," which aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge to be more informed, peaceful and culturally responsible citizens of the world.

Media contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159