Contingency led by Bulldogs Marching Band will participate in Veterans Day parade

(UPDATED November 18, 2015) —For Veterans Day, Fresno State honored students who have served the nation through military service with its annual observance on campus, a 5k run, participation in the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Fresno and television shows featuring nursing alumni and two new programs supporting the CSU Troops to College initiative.

The annual Fresno County Toys for Tots was launched as well.

The campus Veterans Day Ceremony, held in the Allen Lew Memorial Garden Nov. 4, featured keynote speaker Lorenzo Rios (Lt. Col. US Army – RET), the CEO of Clovis Veterans Memorial District.  Rios worked at Fresno State as commander of the Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion until he retired in May. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army.

The Fresno State Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC led by bag piper Ken Bain presented colors and the Music Department’s Chorus performed “My Country Tis of Thee” and “God Bless America”. Vocalist Lori Alamano, who works in the Fresno State Police Department, sang the National Anthem.

The event, sponsored by the Student Veterans Organization, opened with Chaplain Clayton Diltz, an Air Force veteran who delivered the invocation. He is the current chaplain for the Fresno Veterans Home and the wing chaplain the 144th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base in Fresno, and Kaweah Delta Hospital. He is also an adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific University and on the elder board at Visalia Evangelical Free Church.

Virginia Cardinal, coordinator for Fresno County Toys for Tots, announced this year’s drive organized by the Marine Corps League of Fresno. They are accepting new, unwrapped toys to distribute to children in the community during Christmas.

The Fresno State Army ROTC held its annual 5K run, open to all ages, on Nov. 7 on campus. Proceeds for the run benefit the Clovis Veterans Memorial District and the VFW.

The campus is closed every year on  Nov. 11 when the annual Fresno Veterans Day parade is  held  downtown —  the 95th anniversary recognizing armistice declared between Germany and the Allied Nations ending World War I —  and once again led by the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band.

University participants included the ROTC units and student veterans clubs SVO and Omega Delta Sigma and the Fresno State Spirit Squad cheerleaders and mascot Timeout.

The Fresno State Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion, under the direction of Major Boyce Buckner, will be escorting veterans at the parade as well as riding on the Clovis Memorial Veterans District float while 25 cadets of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 35 will march in formation under the command of Lt. Col. Kenneth Bourque.

Also participating in the parade were Fresno State nursing alumni Marie Hoemke (1962) and Pam Loewen (1966) riding in the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing car.  Both have led decorated and honorable nursing careers in the military that span multiple decades.

Hoemke was a staff nurse in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and Loewen was a staff nurse in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps, later becoming a flight nurse instructor earning her the Air Force Commendation medal and the Meritorious Service medal. She is also the historian for the center’s Nursing Legacy Project.

See their stories at the blog for the Fresno State College of Health and Human Services:

After the parade, KSEE24’s Central Valley Today show featured the nurses and two new veterans programs which began this summer to join with the Veterans Services in Student Affairs in serving students.

The Student Support Services Veterans  Program received funding as part of Fresno State’s TRiO Student Support Services Program in July and the Veterans Education Program in the Division of Continuing and Global Education received a gift from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation in June.

TRIO veterans director Eluterio Escamilla and Dr. Daniel Bernard, director of the Veterans Education Program, appeared on the KSEE show with host Stephanie Bainum.

The TRiO program serves 120 students with its own counselor, two peer mentors and two academic facilitators. The reading/writing specialist and program assistant are assigned to both programs.

Escamilla is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate of Fresno State earning a master’s degree in International Relations in 1998.

To be eligible for either program, participants must be a first generation, low-income student enrolled in 12 or more units at Fresno State and/or have learning or physical disability. For the veterans program, the student must also have an honorable discharge from military service.

For application information, contact Jennifer Garzon at 559.278.5725 or visit the Thomas Building, Room 122.

The Veterans Education Program will use the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation gift for a new program that will help Valley veterans and current service members’ transition into higher education.

The only program of its kind on the West Coast, the Arnold program is designed for first-year student veterans who have been denied admittance to Fresno State and veterans who are eligible for admittance but lack transfer credit.

Bernard said the program provides support for veterans transitioning from military life to an academic setting.

“It can be difficult for those in the military to adjust upon returning from active duty,” Bernard said. “They may feel isolated or feel like they don’t fit in to the college lifestyle. This cohort-based program continues the camaraderie found in the military and provides student veterans the complete college experience in an encouraging and welcoming environment.”

See them on the KSEE show at

For more information on the Veterans Education Program contact Dr. Bernard at or 559.278.1901.

Related links

TRiO Veterans Program

Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation gift


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