Students in the Crowder agricultural division fundraise all year to provide a meal and entertainment for those who’ve served our country.
Crowder College’s agricultural division held the Fifth Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner near the Tatum Bell Tower. Three hundred veterans and their families gathered for a meal, entertainment, and fellowship with soldiers.
And, this dinner was all made possible by the students of the ag program.
“This is a free event for veterans and their families, and our Aggies raise the money for us to buy the groceries and all the things that it takes to serve this,” explained division chair Jorge Zapata. “We’re serving a great pulled pork dinner and we’re having a band that’s going to do the entertainment for us tonight.”
The former agricultural division chair brought this event to campus because he saw a need for the community to thank all veterans.
“I give credit to our former Division Chair, Jay Wilkens,” Zapata continued. “He had this vision that we need to honor those veterans who, especially the WWII veterans, are becoming less and less out there, and so we want to make sure we recognize them. And now, we’re seeing that our Vietnam vets, our Korean vets, and of course, our Desert Storm and folks who have been spending time in the Middle East need to be honored.”
Students in the ag program volunteer their time for more than just fundraising to make this all possible. One student, Josh Raben, decided to honor veterans with one of his favorite hobbies.
“I’ve been doing public speaking most of my life, so I’m pretty well versed in it and so I like to use my passions and skills to help better people, ‘Raben explained. “I’ve always had a great respect for the military and everything they’ve done for me and my family, so I just want to give back in any way I can.”
One vet has attended the event all five years and is happy people are coming out and thanking those who served for their freedom.
“I said I think it’s long overdue,” said Ron Rogers, a local Vietnam veteran.
Raben says he’d like to help again next year, Zapata hopes more students like him will volunteer their talents at next year’s event.