For UA Little Rock social work student Jackie Fowler, Veterans Day is a day of solace, contemplation, and reflection on the events in her life that brought her to where she is today.
Five years ago, Fowler’s life took an unexpected turn when she learned that her husband had been seriously injured in an accident while deployed. He would pass away a few months later. Today, Fowler has dedicated her life to working with both veterans and other military spouses who have gone through similar experiences, and has bravely shared her story with the campus.
“When my husband passed, his GI Bill scholarships passed to me. I decided to use that to pursue a degree in social work and focus on veterans’ services,” Fowler said. “I want to do the best I can to give them the best they deserve.”
UA Little Rock joined the rest of the nation in celebration of the 100th observance of Veterans Day at a Nov. 12 ceremony featuring student and employee veterans along with spouses of veterans.
Kathy Oliverio, an Air Force veteran and director of Military Student Success at UA Little Rock, opened the ceremony with remarks about the history of Veterans Day, its origins as Armistice Day following the end of World War I a century ago, and the importance of its observance to those who have served.
Student veterans Josh Keyes and Andy Wertherington shared their experiences in the armed forces as well as the difficulties that they had re-adjusting to life after their service ended. Both pointed to UA Little Rock’s Military Student Success Center as an important player in their new lives as students.
“I don’t know really where I’d be without Kathy and the services she provides to veterans here,” Keyes said. “It’s been a long process readjusting to civilian life but UA Little Rock has people that have gone through the same thing and are there to help you work through it.”
Solo piano arrangements of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Taps” were performed by Dr. Linda Holzer, professor of music and coordinator of classical piano studies, with music major and Wind Ensemble member Stephanie Gimenez performing on the snare drum.
For more information about UA Little Rock’s Military Student Success Center, click here.
Military Student Success Center Assistant Director and Coast Guard veteran Cheryl Kleeman prepares flags for the Nov. 12 ceremony.