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Green River honors soldiers at the Veteran Coin Ceremony

Green River paid tribute to our country's brave veterans at the Veteran Coin Ceremony, held on June 6.

choir sings for veterans
The ceremony begins with the Pledge of Allegiance and a choir performance

The Glacier room was packed with veterans, supportive Green River employees and guests. After a resounding pledge of allegiance, Kelly Eisenhour's choir launched into a powerful arrangement of "America the Beautiful."

Student veterans, President Ely, board members, and guests were welcomed by Ty Somerville, student body president, and Joanne Martin, Dean of Student Success and Retention.

"When our service members transition to civilian life, others at the college usually do not know of their service because veterans usually do not wear a uniform to class. Green River believes that the commitment to serving our country needs to be acknowledged," explained Martin, "Through this coin ceremony we want our student veterans and their families know how appreciative we are of their service to our Nation. The Green River Challenge Coin is a representation of this and will serve as a permanent reminder of the College's commitment to the academic and career success of our veterans. "

Jim Martinson
Vietnam war veteran Jim Martinson delivers an inspiring talk to the veterans

Josh Gerstman of the Green River Foundation and Somerville ceremoniously distributed the coins to the veterans.

Somerville introduced Jim Martinson, a Vietnam War veteran who lost both legs to a bouncing betty landmine. Martinson described his experience through the injury and his life when he returned.

"Laying in the hospital after waking up with no legs, I didn't think I had a prayer to do anything in this world, but you can't give up," he said to resounding applause. "No one let me give up." Martinson went on to start a wheelchair company which he just sold for $2.5 million.

Nearly 50 veterans received coins this year and approximately 70 people overall attended the ceremony.

The Green River Veteran Benefits Office works tirelessly to assist student veterans to become certified for their educational benefits in a timely manner. Because of the efforts of Sandra Mathews and her team (which includes Manila Mercurio who provides detailed assistance and also verifies coursework of veterans), Green River student veterans are well-served.