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Veterans

Greg Urquhart (Photo Robert Hubner)
Winter 2018

Peace for the wounded warrior

Since the earliest days of the republic, Native Americans have stepped up to defend the United States at higher rates than any other ethnic group.

From General Washington’s inclusion of Tuscarora and Oneida warriors at Valley Forge, through the world wars and Vietnam to today’s conflicts in the Middle East, Native Americans continue to answer their cultural calling to serve.

Traditionally, these soldiers were welcomed home with healing ceremonies that helped reintegrate them with the tribe and wider society. Compassionate medicine men, and women, used time-honored practices to mend the emotional, spiritual, and physical trauma of war.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. government banned Native religious ceremonies … » More …

Sean Halsted (Photo Lintao Zhang/Getty)
Winter 2018

Gold mettle man

Poles planted and ready, Sean Halsted ’92 waits at the starting gate for the 15-kilometer cross-country skiing race. It’s March 2018 at the PyeongChang Winter Games and he’s wearing the signature red cap and striped jersey of the U.S. Paralympic team.

Behind sunglasses, Halsted glances at the grandstand filled with thousands of cheering fans, colorful flags, and jangling cowbells. Cameras point in every direction and he catches a glimpse of himself on the jumbotron. Though the Air Force veteran has competed all over the world, the enormity of the event is overwhelming. His eyes turn back to the countdown clock where seconds creep by until … » More …

Ivan Price (Courtesy WSU Athletics)
Winter 2018

A sacrifice, forgotten not

World War I ended 100 years ago this November 11, where 116,516 Americans gave their lives. Forty-two of them had attended Washington State College and their names grace a plaque on the Veterans Memorial at the heart of the Pullman campus.

Ivan Price was one of the fallen.

Price graduated from Pullman High School in 1915. He played football, basketball, and track, and helped Pullman High to the state football and basketball championships his senior year.

That fall he entered WSC and played on the freshman basketball team. The following season, Price started as forward in all 26 games for a Crimson and Gray varsity … » More …

Fred Kamaka (left) with his brother Sam Kamaka Jr. Photo Tommy Shih
Spring 2017

Sweet strumming

Leaning back against a wall mounted with a variety of ukuleles, Fred Kamaka begins the story of his family’s 100-year-old ukulele business for a tour group at the factory in Honolulu.

“To be cool in the ’20s, you needed to have a coonskin cap and a uke in hand,” he says, “So my father started making ukuleles.”

A spry 91-year-old, Fred sprinkles the history with dry jokes, and periodically pulls down one of the ukuleles to musically punctuate a point.

His father, professional musician Samuel Kamaka Sr., traveled to New York and Europe and learned the luthier’s art before he returned to Hawai‘i and began … » More …

Winter 2016

When Jermiha marched home

Military homecoming is usually a time of immense joy and relief, but for many veterans the weeks that follow are daunting. Each month in Washington state alone, 1,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life—moving from a structured, often traumatic environment into the looser routines of home. Along the way come unexpected challenges, especially when returning to college or entering the job market.

Jermiha White ’16 served eight and a half years as an Army cavalry scout on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. As a combat veteran, White began experiencing anxiety when he enrolled as a student at Washington State University … » More …

Winter 2016

The currency of challenge coins

Rooted in World War I lore, and popularized with dramatic references in books and TV shows, military challenge coins have become a powerful symbol of camaraderie and support.

Beginning this spring, they also will help recognize the sacrifice and determination of student veterans at Washington State University. The newly minted WSU challenge coins will be handed out to all graduating veterans, and to faculty and staff with military service.

“This was one of our first projects,” says WSU Veterans Coordinator Blaine Golden, noting the expanded student Veterans Center opened in 2014. “We wanted something that would show veterans we value their contributions…and are proud … » More …

veterans’ monument at WSU Tri-Cities
Summer 2013

Soldiering on

The newest landmark on the WSU Tri-Cities campus is a sculpture of an open book with pages floating up from it to the sky. The bronze, titled Stories, is a statement for the military veterans who come to study at Tri-Cities.

What better way to show that there’s a place for them? And what better way to show the community that we’re here? asks Erick Flieger, the campus Vet Corps representative and one of around 130 military veterans attending WSU Tri-Cities last semester.

In the two years since campus leaders pledged to become a veteran-supportive campus, the school has increased its resources to accommodate veteran … » More …

Matthew Heatherly
Spring 2013

Matthew Heatherly ’12—Serving and learning

When he graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma in 1990, Matthew Heatherly decided to delay his college education in order to enlist and serve his country. He spent twenty years in the U.S. Army and in 2010 retired as a first sergeant.

But an end to active duty didn’t mean an end to his Army life. He has since become an operations manager at the Western Regional Medical Command on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Madigan Healthcare System based there serves 130,000 active duty service members. Heatherly’s job is to help plan medical care for active-duty troops in the western United States, as well as … » More …