DCCC finds virtual way to honor soldiers, vets, during COVID-19 pandemic

At the Veterans Center are from left: U.S. Army veteran Darren Lipscomb, Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Enrollment Services; students Petula Darnley and Alexander Eatman; U.S. Military student veterans Nicholas Stanicia and Robert Saugling; and Mitchell Murtha, Vice President, Recruitment and Enrollment Management.

Delaware County Community College is committed to helping active duty soldiers, military veterans and their families. As a way of demonstrating its support and commitment, the College plans to honor recent high school graduates from the Greater Philadelphia area who are soon planning to enter the U.S. military.

The College is one of the newest chapters of Our Community Salutes, a nonprofit organization that hosts annual sendoffs for new U.S. military enlistees, when they graduate from high school. While the College had planned an inaugural, in-person send-off for the high school graduates, it unfortunately had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 safety concerns. However, the College has developed multiple ways to still honor the graduates, veterans and their families.

The College will offer current and past members of the U.S. military services the opportunity to share their stories with the high school graduates/new enlistees via podcast; the College also will invite new enlistees, and their families, to participate in the College’s annual Veterans Appreciation events; and the College will present each new enlistee with a challenge coin, reflecting a longtime military tradition. The coin was designed with the input of veterans employed at the College, student veterans and alumni, such as 2020 Delaware County Community College graduate Nicholas Delloso, one of only 48 student veterans nationwide recently selected to receive an inaugural 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award from G.I. Jobs, a magazine for U.S. military soldiers, veterans and their families.

U.S. military enlistees who have graduated from high school, as well as their family members, who are interested in participating are encouraged to register by no later than Wednesday, September 30 at dccc.edu/community-salutes-registration.

Each year, Delaware County Community College serves more than 300 military families from Delaware, Chester and Philadelphia Counties. Service members and veterans may qualify for free education and training. Additionally, the College offers student veterans membership in the College’s chapter of the nationally renowned Student Veterans of America; dedicated staff; an on-campus Veterans Center; and other resources.

Earlier this year, the College received a 2020-21 Military Friendly® School designation from Viqtory, the service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that publishes G.I. Jobs® and Military Spouse national magazines. The Military Friendly® designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and training opportunities.

Many of the College’s staff and faculty are veterans, including Darren Lipscomb, a U.S. Army veteran, who is Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Enrollment Services. Each year, on the days leading up to Veterans Day, the College honors staff who are veterans by displaying on campus televisions and computer screens, side-by-side photos showing them in uniform, during their days in the military, and in civilian attire today.

In January 2017, the College opened a Veterans Center at its Marple Campus through the generous donations of local business owner Pam Mariani and the Wilbur C. and Betty Lea Henderson Foundation. The Center is equipped with computers, satellite cable, a Prisoner of War table, military flags and other amenities. It serves as a space for studying, socializing and veterans-focused programming.

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