As May marks Military Appreciation Month, FHSU would like to share the stories of a few of its students who have served in the armed forces.
Many of these service members attend classes virtually as they’re active-duty or have retired to other parts of the country. Each one, though, is a member of the FHSU community and would like to share their experiences with fellow tigers.
Lawrence Woltje now studies informatics at FHSU, but he joined the Army Reserves in 1988, where he worked as a military firefighter.
During his time with the Reserves, the greatest lesson he learned was to rely on his band of brothers and his faith in God. But he believes that support from the FHSU community is important, too, and that this support should come through respect.
“It does not matter if you served in a war or you served in the Reserves or however else you served,” Woltje said. “You served.”
Like Woltje, Emily Peterson values the community she has found in the military. An active-duty Marine, she balances her work with pursuing her degree in business education.
“I joined for the job, for the brotherhood, the sense of belonging to something big and meaningful that I thought would maybe bring some big, meaningful things to me and my life,” she says.
Peterson says her time with the Marines has taught her to be proud yet humble and that support for fellow servicemembers is habit in the military. Because of this, she and her colleagues expect the same level of care from those who do not serve in the military.
Such support, Peterson believes, is essential for members of the military who feel they work 30-hour days.
“I think sometimes that military students are cramming more hours into the day to achieve their job, take care of their family, keep up with their grades, and I think it just adds one more thing, one more layer of responsibility.” Attending a supportive university like FHSU can make all the difference.
As with Peterson, Jeffery Collins understands the stress of balancing life in the military with that of attending school. He is currently active-duty member of the Air Force and pursuing his master’s degree in human and health performance.
He explains that he and military students across the world have issues with time-zones and scheduled Zoom meetings.
Despite the difficulties that come with online learning, Collins says he is grateful for the diverse community at FHSU. Having been stationed overseas for nearly 10 years, he appreciates the contact with those peers in the U.S.
“Reading the viewpoints of classmates that have been in there this whole time and their experiences really fills a gap that has been made by being gone for so long.”
As Collins says, FHSU is home to a variety of students, on campus and online, serving their country or pursuing their degree full-time.
He, Peterson and Woltje represent a group of students who work hard for both their education and for their country. Because of this dedication, FHSU is proud to call these servicemen and women tigers.
Corie is a student intern in the Office of University Relations and Marketing.