Veterans Day at DCTC

Federal holiday Wednesday, November 11, 2020 Honoring All Who Served

Veterans Day is observed on the 11th day of November every year irrespective of what day of the week the federal holiday lands. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the significance of November 11 dates back to 1918 when an armistice between Allied forces and Germany took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of that year. November 11, 1918, is customarily recognized as the conclusion of “the war to end all wars.”¹

Today, Veterans Day represents an annual celebration remembering and honoring U.S. Armed Forces veterans for their sense of duty, love of country, and readiness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Dakota County Technical College is dedicated to meeting the needs of veterans and active-duty service members attending our college and residing in our communities. Some veterans face personal, relationship, education and employment challenges. Families of veterans may need support while their loved ones serve overseas and when they return home.

Working with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, DCTC provides additional training on supporting veterans to the college’s counselors, student affairs staff, faculty and administrators.

Veteran’s Day is November 11, 2020 • Thank a Veteran today!

DCTC is proud to recognize and our students and employees who are members of the military community. Take a moment THANK THEM HERE. Messages collected will be sent to military members within the DCTC community.

A Brief History of Veterans Day¹

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.²

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress—at the urging of the veterans service organizations—amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.


More about the Military & Veterans Service Center at DCTC

Established in spring 2007 in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, the Military & Veterans Service Center provides support to military members, veterans, and their families as they transition to college and beyond. The Center is committed to offering information and assistance as well as a welcoming space for students to gather for peer support.

The Center is located in Room 2-302 and is staffed by Katherine Bachman, MDVA higher education regional coordinator and VA student workers who are committed to helping veterans reach their higher education goals.

Services Offered

  • Veterans, current military, and dependent resources
  • Military credit transfer
  • Academic accommodations
  • Withdrawals due to deployments
  • Referrals to on-campus academic assistance
  • Access to community providers
  • Events for veterans and military families
  • Scholarships for the following:
    • Veterans
    • Current Military
    • Dependents of veterans or current military

Important links

7 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday thru Friday

DCTC: Veteran-friendly campus: Fast facts

  • Proclaimed Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) Company in 2010
  • Opened remodeled Military & Veterans Service Center in 2016
  • Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2020: Career and Technical Colleges: #4 nationally #1 Minnesota
  • Best for Vets national ranking three previous years: 2019 #6 2018 #7 2017 #12

Jessie Sweeney: Student-veteran perspective…

Jessie Sweeney, USN (retired)

Jessie Sweeney, 62, earned her A.A.S. in Auto Body Collision Technology from DCTC in May 2020. Jessie is on track to earn her A.A.S. in Automotive Technician in May 2022. She has a B.S. in Liberal Studies from Excelsior College and an A.A.S. in Diagnostic Radiological Technologist from George Washington University.

Originally from Oak Harbor, Washington, Jessie served 30 years in the U.S. Navy. She retired as a master chief petty officer (E-9)—the highest enlisted rank in the Navy, having served as a hospital corpsman (HM-0000). She served in the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) 1995–1996 and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) 1998–1999. She was also stationed at Fleet Hospital Eight in Rota, Spain.

Jessie’s career plans are centered on working in the automotive industry. In her free time, she enjoys classic cars, truck and tractor restoration, family time, camping, hiking, fishing, biking, diving and seeing the rest of the world. Jessie resides in Welch, Minnesota.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

Jessie Sweeney Q & A

How did serving in the military help you prepare for college?

I gained an understanding that if I wanted to advance and make a difference in the world; my family/neighborhood/community, my career/work/goals, and more importantly, myself, I had to work hard and give 100 percent of myself. I was never an avid runner, but while serving in the military, we were required to pass two fitness exams every year and maintain a certain percent body fat.

I wanted to go beyond that. I decided to run a marathon. I practiced for an entire year beginning with running a mile without stopping for a total of three miles each day, then I worked up to running without stopping for five miles each day and continued until I could run 20 miles a day without stopping. My final run that year was the Portland Marathon in 1998 (26.2 miles), with just one stop (the bathroom), and it only took me just over five hours to finish.

What do you like best about the Automotive Technician program?

The availability of the program at DCTC and what it offered, the teachers and the technology. I wanted to learn how to work on cars. I already knew how to take care of people, animals and plants. I had always had a dream to someday restore an older car or truck. I took advantage of the educational benefits I earned while serving in the military to enroll and graduate from Automotive Technician program, and am now taking classes in the Auto Body Collision Technology program.

What advice would you give military veterans thinking about going to college?

Go for it. Don’t ever think for one moment that you cannot make it through college. You can. Give it your 100 percent, study hard and turn in your homework. Veterans never give up: you’re determined and driven. You will find a way to achieve excellence!

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Members of the DCTC and Inver Hills campus communities share their thoughts on Veterans Day.

Veterans Day means lifting up and acknowledging those who serve and have served the United States of America.

I believe it is important to remember veterans, family members and those currently in service on this special day by placing a wreath on a loved one’s gravesite, sending a word of thank you to someone who has sacrificed for our freedoms, or speaking to someone to express gratitude. Veterans Day is about showing appreciation.

[Anne’s brother, John Mark Holland, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years. After 9/11, John Mark did three tours of duty in the Middle East, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He is retired in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and owns and operates a home repair business, Holland and Sons. John Mark’s focus is employment of Marines.]

Anne S. Johnson, MBA
Vice President of Student Affairs
Dakota County Technical College

Master Sergeant John Mark Holland, USMC (Ret.)

To me, Veterans Day is a day to give thanks to those who have served our country and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

My father, Lance Carlson, was in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam War; he was 18 years old when his name was drafted. Having a son myself who is 22, I can’t imagine the agony my grandparents felt the day he left or how terrified my father was. It must have been hard not knowing if he would return, or if my grandparents would see him again—and if he did come back, what toll would his serving in the war mentally and physically do to him?

Thankfully, my father came back home, or I wouldn’t be here today. However, I know he and many others continue to struggle mentally and physically, which also significantly impacts their families. My father has taught me not take our freedom for granted and also respect the American flag and always thank a vet!

Not only do I feel compelled to thank our veterans on Veterans Day, I am grateful to the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System and other organizations who honor our veterans by providing care and services to help our veterans to ensure they have quality healthcare and resources. No veteran should be homeless or left to suffer alone. I continue to be emotionally impacted each time I visit the VA Hospital and see how every person there appreciates and acknowledges our veterans.

[Laina’s dad, Lance Carlson, was a Specialist E4 serving during the Vietnam War with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Calvary, 1st Calvary Division (Air Mobile), July 1966–July 1967. He served for 20 years in the Minnesota National Guard, retiring as a major.]

Laina Carlson
Human Resources Director
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Specialist E4 Lance Carlson serving during the Vietnam War

When I think of Veterans Day, I always place a face to the tribute. Three friends of mine all served in various branches of the United States Armed Forces, and although each is a wholly different person, what surprises me is their common core.

Take Randy Nicoll, a former student of mine and now a good friend. Randy served several tours in Iraq as a Marine and came back with some of the emotional baggage PTSD hands out with wild abandon. His therapy? Serving others. Seriously. He says it’s cathartic—and he does it daily.

Roger Breheim, a friend of mine who served in Vietnam, still today has moments of PTSD, although he has learned for the most part how to defang the demons. Perpetual optimism, infectious energy, and a willingness to help out anyone are his prominent characteristics.

Finally, there is Laura Vogel, a proud member of the U.S. Navy. Although never serving in combat, she has a determination to help others less fortunate and has made a career out of it in the private sector. So what’s the connection? There are three: passion, sacrifice, and a profound willingness to serve others. I’d be willing to bet this commonality holds true for all veterans.

Brett Kolles
English Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

(left to right) Randy Nicoll Roger Breheim during Vietnam War Laura Vogel

Remembering and honoring the service and sacrifice of our military who have sworn to protect the U.S. Constitution and their family members who support them. We as citizens may not always agree with what the president does or says, but as veterans we take this oath:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

My son, Nick, is a machinist’s mate nuclear 2 (MMN2) who serves as a #2 reactor room secondary work center supervisor aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Nick is home-ported in San Diego, California, with his wife, Jaelyn, an RN at the University of California, San Diego.

My daughter, Katlynn, is a staff sergeant in the Air Force Reserve, serving with the 934th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Minneapolis. Katlynn’s Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC ) is 4NO71, or  medical technician). As a civilian, she is completing her B.S.N. while working as an RN at Marshfield Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Kathy Bachman
MDVA Higher Education Regional Coordinator
Military & Veterans Service Center

(left to right) Staff Sergeant Katlynn Bachman, USAF Reserve Machinist’s Mate–Nuclear Nick Bachman, U.S. Navy

I am a military veteran that proudly served our country for 17 years and was medically discharged as a result of a deployment to Iraq in 2013.

At the age of 18, I was struggling with direction in my life. My father was a WWII veteran who was injured as he stormed the beaches of Normandy. He rarely spoke about his Army experience, but was a strong supporter of me signing up to serve our country.

My service as a Marine provided me structure, discipline, family and direction. That service was the foundation of the person I have become today. I was proud to wear the uniform, proud to protect our country, and proud to make a difference.

Joining the military was the best thing that happened to me, other than marrying my wife, Diane.

I am proud to be a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, active-duty, and the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Veterans Day to me is a day to recognize my fellow veterans who came before me and those serving today, and thank them and their families for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our country.

Tony Pangal
Director of Safety and Security
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Boot camp graduation in San Diego, California Enjoying sushi with extended family in Tokyo, Japan Plane ride home from Iraq

What a pleasure it was to visit with our fine students that serve(d) this country. We are proud to have such terrific representation from the United States military at DCTC. Thank you all for what you do and have done!

[Top gallery photos provided by Rachel Marzahn, DCTC interactive media coordinator. Steve Hoemberg, director of outreach for the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence, reached out to Jason Wetzel, DCTC dean of transportation, construction and manufacturing, about having photos taken for a Salute to Service campaign to honor veterans.]

Jason Wetzel, MBA
Dean of Transportation, Construction and Manufacturing
Dakota County Technical College

Photo taken during Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence project on DCTC campus

Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served. For me, it’s a day to reach out to living family and friends who served, and a day to remember loved ones who served and have since passed away.

Both of my grandfathers went overseas during the Korean War. My grandpa, Donald Marzahn, enlisted at 19. He quickly rose to the rank of sergeant  in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He built many roads and bridges near Seoul, South Korea, during the war.

Grandpa Don passed down a few things to me, two specific examples come to mind as it relates to his time in the Army. He passed on to me he his entrepreneurial spirit, or as my family likes to say, his MacGyver-like innovation. One of the roads he was building was close to enemy lines and there was occasional fire. He was tired of getting shot at while working, so he commandeered a tank and somehow fastened a bulldozer blade on it to finish the project. No one is quite sure how he was able to make this heavy-duty, makeshift contraption function, but that is the mystery of his MacGyver-y ways.

When he was allotted time off, Grandpa Don would take shore leaves in Japan or Hawaii. That’s where he bought the fine China my grandmother still uses to this day. He also bought a 35mm camera. This camera is special in many ways. It is the camera he took photos with during his time in the service. This very camera was also passed down in the family and now belongs to me. If you know me now, you can see why I find this camera extra special and perfectly fitting. At the time, Grandpa Don had no way of knowing that of all his grandkids, I would one day grow up to be a photographer. Looking back, maybe he’s the one who planted the seeds, and I owe it all to him.

Rachel Marzahn
Interactive Media Coordinator
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Don Marzahn in Korea: With fellow soldier Company A, 120th Engineer Combat Battalion Helping farmer Driving bulldozer

For me, Veterans Day is important to honor families for the military service. It is one day where we can celebrate their patriotism, love for our country, and a chance to support them for the sacrifices the military member and their families make.

[Mike’s daughter, Becca, serves in the U.S. Air Force Reserves]

Mike Opp, EdD
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dakota County Technical College

Mike with daughter, Becca, USAF Reserves

(left to right) Mike with Becca Becca Opp, USAF Reserves Becca with her mom

Veterans Day means remembering and appreciating the sacrifices military members have made for our country’s freedom and safety. It is also a day to recognize with pride and honor the many selfless military members who put their lives on the line for love of this country and its people. They are the true life heroes that my son has looked up to and hopes to embody, as he takes his next step in June, and graduates as a naval officer.

Laura Quezada
Human Resources Assistant
Dakota County Technical College

Laura’s son at his ring-dipping ceremony

For me, Veterans Day reminds us to honor those who serve and the families of service members who all make sacrifices to deliver on the many missions of our armed services. Not only do they protect us and our interests, they respond in emergencies and provide humanitarian relief. The day also reminds us to listen to our veterans about what they and their families need, especially here at the colleges, to meet their educational goals.

Michael Berndt
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

My father, Richard M. Hayes, retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy after 29 years of service. He served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific Theater during WWII. My mother, Doloris L. Hayes, served as a U.S. Navy nurse during WWII, also in the Pacific Theater, where my parents first met. They are both buried in Arlington Cemetery.

My twin brother, Michael G. Hayes, retired as a commander from the U.S. Navy after 29 years of service. As a naval aviator, he flew an A-6 Intruder on 45 sorties during the first Gulf War. He resides with his wife, Jackie, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mike and Jackie have two adult children, Katie Meeks and Steve “Slade” Hayes, and four granddaughters.

My brother-in-law, Del Stedman, was a U.S. Marine who saw extensive combat during the Vietnam War. Del was exposed to Agent Orange and died from cancer in 1983 at the age of 36.

I remember my family on Veterans Day.

Chris Hayes
Senior Writer & Photographer
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Hayes family circa 1959 Golf with Mook Del with Patty, his wife

Veterans Day to me is a time to acknowledge the sacrifices members of our military have made in service to our country, and to reflect on what our veterans have done for us historically. Each Veterans Day, I am especially grateful for those who served during WWII.

I am grateful for those who had the bravery to storm the beaches of Normandy; those who helped free Jews from concentration camps and end the holocaust; those who were prisoners of war; those who are missing in action; and every other person who has taken the oath to defend our freedom as a nation. I am also thankful for the family members of our soldiers, and for those who support the families of veterans while their solider is deployed.

[Anna’s grandfather, Carl Voight, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, and her grandfather, Paul Larson, served in the U.S. Army during WWII.]

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life
Dakota County Technical College

When I am cold and shivering on a blustery winter day, I think of my grandfather living in misery as a prisoner of war. When I celebrate my birthday enjoying cake and ice cream, I think of how hungry my grandfather was celebrating his 20th birthday as a prisoner of war. When I visit a doctor’s office, I think of my injured grandfather suffering as a prisoner of war. To me, Veterans Day means that I have a roof over my head; I have food to eat; and I have the health care that I need thanks to servicemen and servicewomen like my grandfather.

My grandfather, Orlyn D. Chunat, enlisted in the Air Force in October of 1942. As a second lieutenant, he was a copilot and flew 21 complete missions during World War II as part of the 303rd Bombardment Group, 358th Bomb Squadron. On October 21, 1944, as my grandfather’s plane was about to bomb a refinery (a main point of impact target, or MPI, during the war) in Merseburg, Germany, his aircraft got hit by enemy fire.

He parachuted out of his burning B-17G bomber at approximately 8,000 feet in the air, but not before getting hit from shrapnel as he was leaving his copilot’s seat to jump. My grandfather was a prisoner of war for five months. That was 152 days of suffering.

As I continue to telework for more than five months now, I have no complaints. I have a warm house to live in; I have food to eat; I have access to quality healthcare. On Veterans Day, I thank the 1.3 million women and men who are currently enlisted in our military branches; I thank the 17.4 million veterans who have served in the military; and I thank the 180,000 young Americans who enlist every year for active-duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

When we start to complain about all of the presumed negatives associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, I use the words of Rosie the Riveter, the WWII cultural icon:“We can do it.” Thank a veteran in your life today. Your world would be a very different place without them.

Lisé Freking
Marketing and Communications Director
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Orlyn D. Chunat Leroy E. Glass Crew: 358th Bomber Squadron Grayson Freking at WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. [click image for Grayson’s report on his great-grandfather]

My sister, Sylvia, and her husband, Kelly Hendrick, and I all served in the U.S. Navy. I actually zoomed in last evening with them and agreed that for us, Veterans Day is a time to remember the sacrifices others have made so ALL can enjoy all privileges and wonders of this country.

Chris Tran
Resources Navigator
School Certifying Official
BTYR Co-Chair
Dakota County Technical College

(left to right) Airman Apprentice Chris Tran, USN, with his mom Petty Officer 3rd Class Sylvia Hendrick, USN Senior Chief Kelly Hendrick, USN

For more perspectives, read:

A Message to our Military-Affiliated Community at DCTC

Learn more about the Military & Veterans Service Center and the BTYR Committee at DCTC by contacting:

Kathy Bachman
MDVA Higher Education Regional Coordinator
Military and Veterans Service Center: Room 2-303

Chris Tran
Resources Navigator
School Certifying Official
BTYR Co-Chair

Michael Crider
Financial Aid Assistant
BTYR Co-Chair

Kendrah Pearson
Director of Prior Learning Assessment

¹ Source: Military. com
² According to Wikipedia, World War I was “one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated 9 million combatant deaths and 13 million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the related 1918 Spanish flu pandemic caused another 17–100 million deaths worldwide, including an estimated 2.64 million Spanish flu deaths in Europe and as many as 675,000 Spanish flu deaths in the United States.”

Photo taken during Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence project on DCTC campus