Cameron University’s Office of Veterans Affairs invites community members, including veterans, military service members and dependents, to its first Vet Fest, a two-day event that will explore military history, present tips for veterans and more. Vet Fest takes place on Wednesday, April 13, and Thursday, April 14, at the McMahon Centennial Complex.
On Wednesday, April 13, speakers will be featured in the McCasland Ballroom, and the Wichita Mountains Quilters Guild will display “Quilts of Valor,” which honor military service members and veterans, in the reception area outside the ballroom. Vet Fest begins at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome from Joel Kinsell, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, who will discuss programs available to veterans in the state.
At 11 a.m., Mark Megehee will present “Fort Sill and the Incredible Story of Its Personalities.” He will focus on historical figures who have ties to Fort Sill, including Joshua Sill, Ben and Alice Grierson, Ambrosia Taylor, Lawrie Tatum, Geronimo, Quanah Parker, I-See-O, Henry Flipper, William Quinette, President Harry Truman, and generals Philip Sheridan, William Tecumseh Sherman, Henry Lawton, Hugh Scott, William J. Snow and Leslie McNair. Megehee, former collections specialist for the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum and former curator for museum programs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, will also read from his collection of poetry, “Songs of Antiquity."
From 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., a collection of World War II weapons, uniforms and equipment, including a Jeep, will be displayed in the circle drive on the east side of the McMahon Centennial Complex. Zane Mohler, curator of exhibits for the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum, will be on hand to explain and show the various items displayed.
At 1 p.m., Shannon Evans, chief of the Human Resource Division for the Muskogee VA Regional Office, will discussed the federal hiring process, how to access and utilize the USAjobs website, types of veterans preference, and tips for writing a federal resume.
At 2:30 p.m., Gordon Blaker, director/curator of the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum, will present a living history display and presentation about the Revolutionary War soldier.
On Thursday, April 14, presentations will take place in the Buddy Green Room. The morning will begin at 9:30 a.m. as Megehee brings to life the saga of the Comanche Code Talkers and their role they played in the Allied victory in WWII.
At 11:00 a.m., Jason Poudrier will lead a Warrior Writers writing workshop. A non-profit organization, Warrior Writers strives to create a culture that articulates veterans’ experiences, builds a collaborative community for artistic expression, and bears witness to war and the full range of military experiences. The workshop will last for approximately one hour consisting of reviewing, writing, and sharing writing and poetry. Poudrier, a novelist, essayist, poet, and Purple Heart recipient of the Iraq War, is the Arts and Humanities Administrator for the City of Lawton.
At 1 p.m., Vet Fest will conclude with a presentation from historian Amy Ward. Her presentation will focus on the Native Americans from Oklahoma who were involved in the American Civil War, focusing on battles and the last Confederate general to surrender, Stand Waite.