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Cameron University’s Vet Fest to celebrate military history, offer tips for veterans and more

Cameron University’s Office of Veterans Affairs is pleased to present its second VetFest, a celebration of military history. VetFest is open to the public and takes place on Monday, November 7, and Tuesday, November 8.

“We welcome community members from throughout southwest Oklahoma to celebrate the contributions of military veterans at VetFest,” says Vicki Henson, Assistant Director of Financial Assistance Services and Coordinator of Veterans Affairs. “In addition to offering tips and resources for service members, veterans and their dependents, VetFest will include informative and entertaining presentations focusing on Native Americans and their contributions to military history.”

On Monday, November 7, VetFest 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 howitzer will fire a dummy round at 10:15 a.m. in Bentley Gardens, accompanied by Fort Sill mascots Big Deuce the donkey and Shortround the goat. The mascots will be visiting campus on both Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition to the howitzer, the unit will also provide visitors to VetFest the opportunity to examine two Humvees, one of which is set up as the Fire Direction Center for the howitzer. Additionally, C Battery, 3rd Battalion 2nd Air Defense Artillery from the 31st Air Defense Artillery will provide a Patriot Launcher System. All will be on display in the parking lot east of the McMahon Centennial Complex.

VetFest presentations will take place in the McCasland Ballroom of the McMahon Centennial Complex, commencing on Monday at 1:30 p.m. with Shannon Evans, chief of the Human Resource Division of the Muskogee Regional Office of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She will discuss 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 p.m., Amanda Anderson, supervisory veterans claims examiner for the Muskogee Regional Office of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, will speak about the various types of VA educational benefits available to dependents.

On Tuesday, November 8, the Traveling Classroom and Road Show from the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum will be available in the parking lot east of the McMahon Centennial Complex. This mobile museum features exhibits including cultural, social and geographical items and information from 25 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East and South Central Asia. The Traveling Classroom and Road Show will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Presentations begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Candy Morgan, director of marketing and public programs for the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, will offer a video presentation focusing on the famed Comanche Code Talkers. George G. Red Elk, will share memories from his father and uncle, who were two of the 17 tribal members who comprised the company. Mark 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 speak about the Comanche Code Talkers.

At 10 a.m., D’Lese Travis, executive director of the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute & Museum, will speak about the life and experiences of General Tommy Franks and his connections with Fort Sill, where he commanded a cannon battery in the Artillery Training Center. She will also talk about the Leadership Institute and Museum.

Historian Amy Ward will be presenting about Chief Quanah Parker and his descendants at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The famed chief surrendered to the United States at Fort Sill in 1875 and went on to develop a beneficial relationship between the Comanche people and the U.S. Army.

Vet Fest will conclude with a presentation at 1 p.m. featuring Lisa Mussett, women veterans coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. Mussett serves as a federal and state liaison for the 30,000 women veterans of Oklahoma. She is also involved with Veteran Services Outreach, utilizing the platform to advocate for agricultural initiatives and military transition services for veterans. Mussett will talk about women veterans’ issues, benefits available to veterans, and more.

Vet Fest will host multiple Native American arts and crafts vendors on Tuesday, who will showcase handmade crafts and original artwork that will be available for purchase.



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