Edmonds CC Foundation honors Boots to Books and Beyond campaign donors

Standing in front of the Boots to Books and Beyond Veterans Donor Wall, from left: Carl Kurfess, U.S. Army Reserve (retired); Veterans Resource Center Director Chris Szarek, U.S. Navy veteran; and Evert Harden, U.S. Army veteran. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Community College)

The Edmonds Community College Foundation is honoring donors to its veterans campaign with the Boots to Books and Beyond Veterans Donor Wall in Lynnwood Hall.

“We are grateful for the 173 generous donors, companies, and foundations from our region that gave multi-year gifts so veterans transitioning from military to civilian life would have the best services possible here at Edmonds CC,” said Brad Thomas, Edmonds CC Foundation executive director.

The campaign raised $1 million to provide on-campus support services for student veterans, including a centralized Veterans Resource Center, counseling and disability services, career advisors, veteran family support, and emergency and scholarship funding to ensure student veterans are not forced to drop out of school due to a lack of benefits or unexpected expenses.

“The donor wall recognizes the generous contributors on our campus and in our community that helped us make the Veterans Center a reality,” said Veterans Resource Center Director Chris Szarek. “Their contributions have made a huge difference in the lives of many veterans.”

Stars bear the names of 61 campaign donors from local businesses and foundations to individuals. Silver stars represent donors who gave from $1,000 to $9,999. Bronze stars are in recognition of those who gave $10,000 or more.

The wall, which was unveiled in November, honors veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

“It’s reaffirming for veterans to know that they’re supported when they come to our school and for them to know that the service they provided to our country is appreciated,” Szarek said. “The donor wall is a strong reminder of that.”

Edmonds CC served 237 student veterans during fall quarter. Szarek said the number of student veterans on campus has continued to grow.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve built a community around our center, and it’s become a great hub for a lot of people to get together who are either veterans or people that care about veterans.”

The Boots to Books and Beyond campaign began in 2014 and was co-chaired by Steve Pennington, a retired Boeing executive, and Bill Keppler, a former civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army.

To learn more about the Veterans Resource Center, visit edcc.edu/veterans. To learn more about the Edmonds CC Foundation and make a future contribution, visit edcc.edu/foundation.

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