Gavilan Commemorates Veterans Day with Changing of the Colors Ceremonyby on Nov 13, 2017
Rain clouds gave way to breezy skies as Gavilan College celebrated its student veterans and installed new flags outside the Student Center on November 9.
Dr. Brooke Boeding and Dewitt Stuckey, who work with students in the Accessible Education Center and the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), collaborated to create the joint event.
"It's important to celebrate our vets," said Stuckey. "They served our country and continue to serve our communities." The ceremony was the first event on campus to celebrate student veterans' service since the club was formed in 2011.
Student veterans club president Raymond Lopez approached Hollister VFW Post 9242, asking for help to purchase and install new flags, a ceremony called Changing of the Colors. The members donated three sets of indoor flags and one set of outdoor flags to Gavilan College and also sent a color guard to officiate.
The VFW Post 9242 color guard met in the Student Veteran Center at Gavilan College.
Adam Mendolla and Bernie Ramirez folded the new flags in preparation for the
Changing of the Colors ceremony.
Arriving after an early morning ceremony at H.O. Hardin School in Hollister, VFW color guard members Bernie Ramirez and Adam Mendolla, along with new Post Commander George Nava, joined students in the VRC. All three vets served with the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam between 1968-1970.
Boeding, as master of ceremonies, introduced speakers Dr. Kathleen Rose, Gavilan College Superintendent/President, Lopez and Charles Weston, a Vietnam veteran. All spoke of the service veterans offered to the country, and about the challenges returning vets face after their tours of duty.
Raymond Lopez spoke about the flag's history, the ceremony for installing
new flags and the official protocol for disposal of old flags.
Outside the Student Center, The U.S. and State of California flags fly on an 80-foot flagpole, and winds can exceed 15 miles per hour on gusty days. The flags at Gavilan are flown day and night, illuminated by LED lights. Constructed of polyester material for durability, the material wears out over time. The college replaced its exterior flags in 2012 and again in 2015.
VFW Post 9242 color guard Adam Mendolla, George Nava and Bernie Ramirez
hoisted the new U.S. flag and State of California flag at Gavilan College. Emily
Cote sang The Star Spangled Banner as the color guard saluted.
Flanked by new flags on stage, guest speaker and Vietnam War veteran Charles
Weston addressed the challenges all veterans face after serving in combat. He
congratulated the student veterans for enrolling at Gavilan and pursuing their college careers.
Gavilan College veterans listened to the guest speaker, then later met in the theater quad for Lunch with A Veteran, pizza and conversation. When in the classroom, vets said they just want to blend in. As a group reflecting all branches of military service, their camaraderie was apparent, swapping stories about boot camp and career training options. After lunch the vets joined the Veteran Documentary Corps from San Francisco State University to screen Veteran Documentary Films in the Gavilan College Theater.