National Military Appreciation Month, how UCC gives back to those that served

Published by Matthew Rabern on

Veteran student Cherakea Randall (left) and service dog Oliver (bottom left) stand beside the sign indicating the location of the student veterans center. Randall has made great leaps in their academic progress thanks to campus resources such as the student veterans center. Gerardo Lopez / The Mainstream

As National Military Appreciation Month, the Month of May serves as a time to remember those who have defended the United States. Ensuring the veterans within the Umpqua community are appreciated and recognized for their sacrifices has been one of the goals of the college, UCC creating resources to help those members of the Umpqua community who are veterans by allowing them to excel in their academic journey.

Veterans Academic Advisor, Dustin Cosby (center) is available for students to contact if they require help with classes. Cosby ensures that veteran students are prepared to follow their academic pathway to success. Jazmin Ode / The Mainstream

Room 31 in the Educational Support Building, labeled as the Student Veterans Center, acts as a place for veterans to do their studying for classes in a private and quiet place. Veteran Liaison Ann Abel also helps veterans with their educational benefits via the VA Education Bill or other forms of government financial aid. Counselor Dustin Cosby is the current veterans advisor, guiding veteran students so they can follow their educational pathways to success. “I am honored to serve those who have served our country,” Cosby stated while discussing his feelings regarding his position and how he works directly with veterans while observing their progress.

The Student Veteran Center plaque stands outside to mark the location of a resource space for veteran students. Gerardo Lopez / The Mainstream

National Military Appreciation Month began in the year 1999 when former Arizona Senator John McCain proposed the month-long observance on February 9, 1999. Later, on May 30, 1999, after an earlier unanimous vote in April of that year, Congress officially designated the month of May as National Military Appreciation Month to celebrate the actions of those deceased and living veterans of America. May was chosen due to the holidays of Loyalty Day (May 1) and Memorial Day (May 27) both taking place during the same month, recognizing veterans and servicemen.

Several veteran students have accepted the invitation to speak about their experience here at UCC, discussing how the college shows its’ appreciation for their efforts after returning from service.

Veteran student Cherakea Randall (center) and service dog Oliver (bottom) have become a common sight around campus. Randall has made great leaps in their progress toward their future as a counselor. Gerardo Lopez / The Mainstream

Cherakea Randall, a UCC student since fall of 2020, was employed in an air defense artillery unit while stationed at Fort Stil, Oklahoma. She moved to the Roseburg area after leaving her service and came to the college to get an associate degree in veterinary science in hopes of becoming a veterinary technician.

Before long, Randall realized that this field was not for her. In the fall of 2023, she then took a human services class being held by associate professor Alex Olsen, gaining the new goal to pursue an education in becoming a counselor in the future thanks to the inspiration and support provided by the college.

Randall is excited to have discovered new success thanks to the help of Abel and Cosby. “I’m grateful for all the opportunities that UCC has to offer,” Randall says, “UCC has helped me find out what I want to do with my future.”

Spencer Hopkins (right) and his family enjoying their time together. Hopkins’ time at UCC has been helped thanks to the resources provided to him by the college. Photo provided by Spencer Hopkins

Spencer Hopkins joined the UCC student body a little over a year ago, seeking his associate degree in the welding program. Originating for the Roseburg area, Hopkins returned after finishing his service as a sergeant in the army with the job of maintaining and operating satellites.

“I do feel taken care of,” Hopkins says. Hopkins appreciated how he was kept informed about opportunities that were open to him as a veteran. “Ann is an incredible resource for us veterans and is so nice whenever I talk to her. Dustin is a great advisor and reaches out to us.”

For those that would like to know more about some of the benefits UCC offers to its’ veteran students, they can read about the Veteran Benefits on the UCC website, or contact the Veterans Education Benefits Office (VEBO) at 541-440-4621 or their email at

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