By Andria Dawson
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College honored veterans and active duty service members in the unveiling of the Military Honor Tree, the ribbon cutting for the Veterans Lounge and the presentation of the Camden County Military Service Medal on campus Nov. 17.
The Military Honor Tree was unveiled Thursday morning in the Community Center of CCC. Beside the tree sits a basket of ribbons, red, white, blue, yellow and black.
“Each ribbon color represents a service member or even yourself, if you have served,” said Zaida Nogue, veterans services adviser at CCC. “This tree is to honor all the great men and women who have sacrificed and fought for the freedom of our country.”
“Service to our country is an important part of my upbringing and what we are about,” CCC President Don Borden said. “It certainly gives me great pleasure to be a part of an organization that can do something to honor your sacrifice, your commitment, your service to our country.”
“United we stand, God Bless America, and Home of the brave” hangs on the wall above the sofa inside the lounge. There are two computers, a printer, refrigerator, coffee machine, microwave, sofa and two sofa chairs. On another wall hangs a 1942 Army Air Forces Advanced Flying School yearbook shadow box, donated by CCC alumna Airman Staff Sgt. Janet Horton in memory of her father. Outside the lounge stands the Military Honor Tree. There is a picture that reads “we support our troops,” a bear in an American flag dress and the veterans outpost sign above the veterans lounge, all donated by veteran and adjunct criminal justice professor Robert DelSordo.
“We are going to continue to make improvements to it. If you have any suggestions, it’s your room,” said Jacqueline Tenuto, assistant dean for student development and support.
Students said they like the Veterans Lounge.
“I like it, it’s nice, it’s very cool,” said Nick Lentz, a student veteran at CCC. “We didn’t have our own space before and now we do.”
‘Its a spot to decompress” said Josh House, a student veteran at CCC.
“It’s a place to relax and talk to other vets,” said Anthony Noun.
Dean of Students James Canonica introduced Patricia Devlin, the newest staff member of the veterans service team, and recognized supporters Lovell Pugh-Bassett, CCC board member and superintendent of schools in Camden County, whom he referred to as a “staunch supporter of veterans,” and Adam Klein, a representative from U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross’ office.
Rev. Floyd White III, director of the Camden County Office of Veterans Affairs, who has 33 years of military service, led the presentation of the Camden County Military Service Medal in the West Cafeteria.
Fifteen student veterans were recognized by the Camden County Board of Freeholders and the Office of Veterans Affairs. Each received a Camden County Military Service Medal, a certificate and a coin from Borden in honor of their military service.
“We wanted to bring awareness about the medal,” said White, “as we also wanted to recognize some of our student veterans who are entitled to the medal.”