There are more than 600 registered student veterans at the University. In recognition of Veterans Day, two student veterans shared what they want the Wolf Pack community to know about student veterans, why they chose Nevada, what Veterans Day means to them and more.
Brian Kelley, student veteran and president of the University's Omega Delta Sigma chapter
[ Editor's note: Omega Delta Sigma is the only national co-ed veterans' fraternity.]
“I was in the Army for 12 years. The University offered the best educational opportunities for what I want and enjoy doing. I enjoy spending time outdoors and sought out a potential career in which I would not be stuck sitting behind a desk and where I would be outside. My major is Forest Management and Ecology with a minor in Rangeland Management and Ecology.
“Not every veteran is the stereotypical angry, bearded veteran that dislikes civilians. In Omega Delta Sigma, we provide brother and sisterhood to fellow veterans and assist in the transition from the military to scholar and to civilian life. In ODS, we strive to provide the sense of belonging that some veterans miss once they are no longer serving. We are a family. We also advocate for benefits for veterans and their families. As one voice, we work with other veteran organizations to benefit veterans across the country. In ODS, we also strive to reach out to the community and help whenever and wherever we can.
“Whether you were a desk jockey or a ground pounder, we all did our time in the military. By going to school, whether it be traditional college like the University or a trade school, get that education. You earned it. Take the experiences you created while serving and put them to good use. Non-traditional education offers a lot of knowledge that cannot be taught in the classroom. Do not be afraid to put that experience to good use as you progress to the next part of your life.
“Do not let another person define who you are or what you believe. You are a person with the right to be whoever you want to be. Get out of your comfort zone. Go try a new hobby. Learn something new every day, if possible. Join a club that you never thought of joining. Go talk to a new person. You never know how you will impact their life or how they will impact yours. Do not be afraid to ask for help! Contrary to popular belief, we are not superheroes. We are human.
“Veterans Day is a day to remember those who have signed up and fought for our country. A day to give thanks to those who gave up part of their life to defend our country.”
Michael Hanson, student veteran and president of Wolf Pack Veterans
“I completed Army Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I enlisted as an 88M, or motor transport operator. I am currently serving in the Nevada Army National Guard in Reno, and I am also enrolled in the UNR Army ROTC.
“I chose the University because I wanted to be close to home. I moved to Gardnerville, Nevada when I was 12, but I consider it my home. I love Nevada and the Reno/Carson City/Gardnerville area and wanted to be close to my family as well.
“My major is political science. I want to pursue a career in law enforcement, and my uncle, who was chief of Huntington Beach PD in California, holds a master’s degree in public administration. He recommended that I pursue a political science degree because it will develop a strong skillset for working in higher public administration.
“Wolf Pack Veterans membership is open to all UNR students and is a great opportunity to participate in community service, make strong networking connections and interact with military students and student veterans!
“For most veterans, the transition from military life to college life can be daunting. Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help There are a multitude of resources dedicated solely to student veteran success. Make the most of your education because you’ve earned every ounce of it. By pursuing higher education, you are setting yourself on the path to success after your military career.
“Make the most of every single day. Every day that you are able to get out of bed and attend university is a blessing. Even on the hardest of days, seek out the positive aspects of your life and cling to them. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so show love and take advantage of every opportunity that you get today!
“Veterans Day is important because it provides an opportunity for all of us, as Americans, to come together to honor and to show gratitude to every man and woman who answered the call to serve our country. With all the division across the United States currently, this is a day that symbolizes unity, respect, and brotherhood.”