CBU remembers veterans on Veterans Day
Riverside, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2020) – More than 350 military veterans attend California Baptist University.
In previous years, CBU’s Veterans Resource Center held celebrations for Veterans Day. Because of COVID-19, this year looked different.
Jay Villasenor, Army veteran and director of the Veterans Resource Center, said it was his duty to make sure the veterans still have the recognition they deserve. On Nov. 11 in Stamps Courtyard, he handed out free meal tickets to student veterans for on-campus restaurants.
“We were unable to do the normal events we did in the past, but COVID is not going to stop us from recognizing and honoring our veterans,” Villasenor said.
Grant Agabon, aviation flight sophomore, served in the Marine Corps for five years prior to his time at CBU.
“I learned a lot in the military,” Agabon said. “My family was from the Philippines and we did not know a lot about America when we moved here. Originally when I joined the military it was because of money, but that completely changed once I was in. I’m extremely grateful because everything that I have now is because of the military.”
Agabon said Veterans Day is a day to remember those who served.
“To me, Veterans Day is to say thank you to those who have offered their lives for our freedom,” Agabon said. “I don’t see it as a normal holiday. It’s a day to go ‘look at this guy, it’s because of him that I am free.’”
Mark Santos, aviation flight sophomore, also served five years in the Marines as a flight technician, specializing in safety equipment.
“I was always fascinated with flight, and it’s been my passion ever since I was a child. I realized that if I could not afford college right away, I could join the military and learn about flight from that standpoint first,” Santos said.
Santos said his proudest moment in the Marines was receiving his Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin.
“It was like I was being tested on everything up until that point and I could finally be called a Marine,” Santos said.
Sgt. 1st Class Luis Perez, military science instructor, has been in the Army for 22 years. Perez teaches freshmen in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) the foundations of the Army.
Over the past 22 years, Perez has been stationed in countries such as North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq and Germany. He has also been stationed around the United States, most recently in Hawaii before starting at CBU.
“It gave me an opportunity to teach. I love giving my knowledge to students,” Perez said. “I hope when they graduate that they remember what they learned here, what it takes to be a leader and apply that to their stations.”
Perez said Veterans Day is a way to honor all soldiers.
“Veterans Day is not about me but the people who came before and the people who come after, to show the nation what sacrifices soldiers have to endure to have the freedom we have,” Perez said. “This is starting back in the Revolutionary War, they are the ones who had to set the scene for what we do. This is about honoring them, the ones who fought in previous wars and to show everyone in the country that these people have to pay a price.”
The Veterans Resource Center, located in Lancer Arms, has a lounge, computer lab and assistance for student veterans in need of government aid.