From left to right: Student Veterans of America Chapter President Isaac Smith, Col. George Fredrick, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Anne Thompson, President Linda Bleicken and Veterans Affairs Coordinator Laura Pallini cut the ceremony ribbon signaling the formal opening of Armstrong's Military Outreach Center.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held for Military Outreach Center

(June 29, 2012) The Military Outreach Center, located in Memorial College Center, was formally presented to the Armstrong community with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on June 27.

Armstrong Army ROTC Cadet Elijah Walden led the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by opening remarks by Armstrong President Linda Bleicken.

“This is a special day for us. This is a day of dignity, as well as a day of joyful celebration. This is our Military Outreach Center,” she said to a crowd mixed with military and non-military students, faculty, staff and community friends. Also in attendance was Georgia State Senator Buddy Carter, who serves as chairman of the Senate's higher education committee.

“It's also a pleasure to welcome all of our distinguished veterans. We enjoy so many freedoms in the country because of you and your sacrifices. This one is for you,” Bleicken said.

Colonel George Fredrick, Battalion Commander of the Eagle Battalion at Georgia Southern University and the Commander of the coastal battalion of Chatham County, served as the occasion's keynote speaker.

“Today, I get the distinct opportunity to represent all service members. When I think about this center, what service it's going to provide to all those groups, those veterans, those currently serving, those who will serve and their families, I just get excited,” Col. Fredrick remarked. “We thank you. Because of your service, we are who we are – the greatest country in the world. I don't care what the media says.”

Isaac Smith, President of Armstrong's chapter of Student Veterans of America also gave remarks, as well as Veterans Affairs Coordinator Laura Pallini.

The Military Outreach Center is the brainchild of Pallini, who for over the past year has sought to provide a designated space for military and veteran students to network, study and relax on the Savannah campus.

Thanks to the donations of the Armstrong community, the facility is equipped with three computers and a small library, as well as a flat screen TV, sofa and refrigerator. On-site English and math tutoring is also offered.

“It is absolutely amazing to have it open. Having the community know about the center and having the school's support as well is a great feeling,” Pallini said.

The center is also open to family members of the military. For many military students, especially those currently based at Hunter Army Airfield and Ft. Stewart, the Military Outreach Center provides a welcoming and supportive environment to spend time during breaks between classes and to meet other military students.