Cameron University will celebrate all things military during Vet Fest, a two-day event hosted by the Office of Veterans Affairs. Community members, including veterans, military service members and dependents, are invited to a variety of events scheduled for Monday, November 6, and Tuesday, November 7, at the McMahon Centennial Complex.
“We look forward to welcoming community members from throughout southwest Oklahoma to Vet Fest,” says Vicki Henson, Assistant Director of Financial Assistance Services and Coordinator of Veterans Affairs. “This fall’s event will offer entertaining and informative presentations of interest, ranging from famous personalities from Fort Sill, medicine and the military, financial management and more.”
On Monday, November 6, Vet Fest will kick off with the firing of Fort Sill’s salute howitzer courtesy of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, 428th Field Artillery Brigade; the French 75 cannon - a World War I artillery gun – and Cameron’s own Big Ollie. Dummy rounds will be fired at 10:15 a.m. in Bentley Gardens.
Visitors can explore a variety of outdoor displays on both days. In addition to Fort Sill’s salute howitzer, the 428th Field Artillery Brigade will have two Humvees on site, one of which is set up as the fire direction for the howitzer. Fort Sill’s Air Defense Artillery will provide an Avenger static display, and soldiers will be available to show the execution of the Stinger missile via the Stinger Troop Proficiency Trainer. The 761st Ordnance Company will share some of their robotics platforms, with interactive robots on site. Attendees can also examine a bomb suit. Fort Sill mascots Big Deuce the donkey and Shortround the goat will be at Vet Fest on both days from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Monday, November 7, at 1 p.m., John Nash, Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs for Oklahoma, will discuss current events and happenings that impact Oklahoma veterans.
At 1:30 p.m., attendees can learn about job marketability from a local perspective, a presentation by Alfred Finch, VA IDES Counselor.
At 2 p.m., “Money Counts: What You Need To Know About Personal Financial Management” will be presented by Susan Faulk, M.ED, Outreach Specialist, Oklahoma Money Matters, Oklahoma College Assistance Program, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and her teammate Sara Lorenzen. The session will provide information about college budgeting, credit and debt, SMART goals, identity theft, student loans and more.
On Tuesday, November 7, Mark Megehee, author of “Images of American Fort Sill,” will present “Famous Personalities and Places of Fort Sill.”
From 10 a.m. to Noon, the Medicine Park Aquarium will be on hand with some animal guests – a great opportunity for selfies.
Historian/educator Amy Ward will present “Medicine through the Generations,” a look at medicine from the American Revolution through today at 10 a.m. This presentation will include the use of homeopathic treatments and their uses.
“The Hidden Treasure: First Generation Military/Veteran/Dependent College Students” will be presented at 10:30 a.m. by Elizabeth Hansen, director of Student Support Services. The presentation will offer valuable tips and resources.
At 11 a.m., Kevin Pohawpatchoko, Comanche Indian Veterans Association commander, will share stories about famous Native American veterans.
Abigail Sharpe, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who works with veterans with PTSD, will speak about the challenges and triumphs of her naval career at 11:30 a.m.
At 1 p.m., Danny Perry 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 1:30 p.m. Erika Wilhite, Arts Learning in Communities Director, Oklahoma Arts Council (OAC) will present “Arts, Health and Well-Being across the Military Continuum” at 1:30 p.m. She will discuss OAC’s Arts in the Military initiative, a program dedicated to serving military individuals and their families through the arts.
Vet Fest will conclude with a 2 p.m. presentation from Carry Metkowski, an executive officer from Chick-fil-a, who will speak about the company’s successful customer service strategies.