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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Navy Commander Addresses ODU Veterans Day Observance

Capt. Douglas Beaver, commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk, praised Old Dominion University's military connection and highlighted distinguished military graduates of the University in remarks at Tuesday's annual Veterans Day Observance.

"Each of you should be proud of the strong ties Old Dominion University has with the military, and the unwavering support it provides to our veterans," Beaver said at the mid-day ceremony inside Webb University Center that was attended by students, staff and faculty.

Beaver noted the personal stories of four ODU alumni who served with valor; retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman, who overcame severe injuries suffered in Iraq to become a motivational speaker, author and founder of the non-profit Wounded Wear foundation; former astronaut Michael Bloomfield, a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions; retired four-star admiral William J. Fallon, the first naval officer to serve as commander of the U.S. Central Command; and Navy Lt Cdr Benito Baylosis, for safely handling more than 1,000 Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq.

"They are just a few of the hundreds of stories of veterans who have graduated from your University who have gone on to do great things for our nation," Beavers said.

Beavers urged all in attendance to "never lose sight of what this day truly means," and to donate or volunteer to help service members and wounded veterans.

Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement, noted that more than a quarter of Old Dominion's 25,000 students are military-affiliated.

"In keeping with Old Dominion's strategic priority, our veteran enrollment continues to rise and we are working continually to better define and demonstrate what it means to say that we are a military friendly university," she said.

With thriving Army and Naval ROTC units, a new Military Connections Center on campus, a Veterans Business Outreach Center and countless collaboration efforts with local and regional military installations, ODU is proud of its significant military links. For four straight years, the publication G.I. Jobs has labeled ODU a "Military-Friendly School."

Members of ODU's ROTC units also took part in the ceremony in which professor Dana Burnett, of the Darden College of Education, was the recipient of an honorary flag.

A different academic college from the University is chosen each year to select a veteran student, faculty or staff member to receive the nation's colors.

Burnett served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years, including two tours with Special Warfare in Vietnam, retiring as a Captain before coming to ODU.

A Veterans Day luncheon sponsored by the Student Veterans Association, Military Connection Center and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was also held in Webb University Center.

Ted Van Horn, commander of the 2nd District American Legion, was the guest speaker. A Vietnam veteran, Van Horn served in the Marine Corps from 1960 to 1970 and is a former local president of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Van Horn holds a master's of educational administration from Old Dominion.

Student speakers included Cody Berkowitz, a Marine Corps veteran and Pi Kappa Alpha vice president; and Mary Bloom, a Navy veteran and member of the President's Task Force for Inclusive Excellence.

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