UMGC honors veterans with a virtual ceremony

UMGC hosts a 2020 Veterans Day virtual ceremony.
Photo credit University of Maryland Global Campus
By Connecting Vets

The University of Maryland Global Campus honored veterans with a virtual Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday, 

“At the University of Maryland Global Campus, our mission since the very beginning has included serving the military,” said UMGC interim president and Air Force veteran Dr. Lawrence E. “Larry” Leak.  

The event also commemorated the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and honored veterans, including UMGC students, faculty and staff who served.

A tribute to veterans from space on Veterans Day 2020

“On Veterans Day, we recognize those who have served and the sacrifices they have made,” explained Dr. Nicole DeRamus-Suazo, Navy veteran and UMGC’s assistant vice president for veterans affairs.

In his keynote address, retired Army Col. U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Maryland, noted that every day Americans of all races came together to serve during World War II.

“Their heroism continues to echo across the generations of men and women who take the oath to protect and defend our country,” he said. 

The stories of the Greatest Generation did not end when they returned home from war, Brown continued.

“And though veterans may have served in different conflicts, wars and theaters and at different times, our common creed continues to bind us together,” he continued. “Love of country.” 

Brown is currently the vice-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and served as an aviator and JAG officer, graduating first in his flight class and receiving Airborne and Air Assault qualifications. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his distinguished services. In 2004, while deployed in Iraq, Brown earned the Bronze Star. 

“This country will always look to veterans as examples of courage, bravery and love of country,” he added. 

Read President Donald Trump’s 2020 Veterans Day proclamation 

During the ceremony, UMGC also honored Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Cabrera with the Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. Student Veteran of the Year Award.

“I always tell people who ask what my job is, make dreams come true while managing expectations,” he said.

Cabrera is currently serving in Okinawa, Japan, and completed his bachelor's degree at UMGC in 2012 and is now pursuing a master's degree in management with a project management concentration. 

Cabrera is a specialist section chief in the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit of the 18th  Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa where he leads a team of 87 permanent part F-15C/D technicians and 231 senior enlisted leaders as the Maintenance Group's Top III President and mentors airmen across 12 Air Force specialty codes.

“I take care of my people so they can take care of their mission, which is to get these aircraft into the air,” he explained. 

Cabrera also advises the commander on maintenance production's short- and long-term fleet health concerns affecting assigned aircraft.

“I’m halfway through my Master’s right now,” he said, “Some classes are a little more challenging than others, but I find if you put the time and effort n, you’re going to make it happen.”


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