Santa Monica College hosted a lunch and informal networking reception April 24th at American Legion Post 283 in the Pacific Palisades. The event, coordinated by Santa Monica College Chapter President Shaphan Koresland, provided Southern California chapters an opportunity to meet one another and speak with SVA executive director Michael Dakduk during his multi-state visit on the West Coast.
This two-hour event brought together chapters and leaders from across the region and highlighted the important work that is being done at the grassroots level.
American Legion Post 283 has begun to work closely with the student veterans and SVA chapter at Santa Monica College, donating over $80,000 to the school for veteran counseling and support on campus. During the luncheon, Legionnaires who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars reiterated their commitment to supporting student veterans both on campus and throughout the community.
At the national level, the relationship between SVA and the American Legion has flourished over the past five years as the organizations partner to support important initiatives and legislation regarding the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the VA backlog.
At the highest level, however, the associations agree: the strength of both organizations is rooted in the members that gather at chapters and posts around the country. On Capitol Hill and in our communities, SVA and the American Legion bring valuable assets to the table that provide veterans with the advocacy and resources needed to succeed in higher education and strengthen the veteran community base as a whole.
Some chapter members traveled two hours for the luncheon, with attendees coming from chapters at College of the Desert, University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Pasadena City College and ICDC College. Post 283 Commander Kurt Hiete and 1st Vice Commander Dave Borgeson, among other Legionnaires, met with student veterans and SVA leaders.
Presenters and luncheon conversations focused on networking, community building, and combat-campus-career transitions and stressed the importance of grassroots advocacy. Mr. Dakduk also highlighted the work being done by SVA at the national level to address reinstating break-pay and the American Legion’s state-by-state efforts to address licensing and credentialing.
It was a great afternoon spent with dedicated and inspiring individuals! Thank you to everyone who made the trek to join us last Wednesday, and for the support of Post 283 and all of those who have partnered with SVA chapters across the country ensure the success of student veterans.