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NCCC to honor veterans at annual ceremony

by jmaloni
Wed, Nov 7th 2012 09:45 pm

Niagara County Community College will host its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. at NCCC's Veterans Memorial Park, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn. The annual ceremony will be led by Anthony Garza, a student in the business administration program at NCCC and a former sergeant who served 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The keynote speaker for this year's ceremony is Dr. Patrick Welch, president and chief operating Officer of Rembrandt Charms USA. Welch, a well known veteran advocate, both locally and nationally, is the former director of the Erie County Veterans Service Agency. Most recently, he was the director of the Center for Veterans & Family services and an adjunct professor of social work at Daemen College.

Welch, a graduate of NCCC and a retired sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, was a recipient of the Purple Heart for his combat service in Vietnam. Additionally, his other awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Campaign, Vietnam Service Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.

NCCC was named among the top military-friendly colleges for the third consecutive year. Joseph Colosi, coordinator of NCCC Student Development/Veteran Services, said the Veteran Affairs Office regularly performs outreach to the Niagara Falls Air Base, including hosting career fairs. Additionally, NCCC has opened its doors to a counselor from the Buffalo Vet Center to offer readjustment counseling services to veterans twice a month since spring.

Colosi said these programs, paired with NCCC's yellow ribbon program, create a military-friendly environment on campus.

"The GI Bill, coupled with NCCC's yellow ribbon program, enable a number of veterans to attend college with 100 percent of their tuition covered," he said. "Without these programs, many of our veterans would not be in a position to advance their education. The programs we offer at NCCC make it much easier for a veteran student to achieve their educational goals."

The Veterans Day ceremony is open to the public. Refreshments will be served immediately after the ceremony in the Notar Administration Building lobby.

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