Student veterans honored at Veterans Day Lunch event

Prya Oliveira, Staff Writer


Saint Martin’s has a large veterans community, and offers assistance for those who have served. On Friday, Nov. 8, I had the pleasure of attending the Veterans Day Lunch and program in Cebula Hall. I noticed that there were many supportive students present as well, along with the amazing veterans whom we were honoring. A wide variety of barbecue food was laid out along with a presentation of pictures of those who served. The presentation included the veterans in their uniforms. It was nice to recognize a few of my classmates in their uniforms. 

Jason Jones is an Army veteran who used to do counterintelligence, he shared, “Saint Martin’s has a good Bachelor of Social Work program. Top of nation, and guaranteed 100 percent acceptance into grad school.” 

The next question I asked Jones was if Saint Martin’s had done a good job at assisting him, to which he responded, “Yes, in every way.” 

He added, “SMU has a good veterans program. When I first came here I applied to get into the school two weeks prior to fall semester of 2018, and within two weeks I was already registered and accepted and good for classes. In the military you deal with something that has to be done here and now, so being given time as a student to complete tasks give you more time to think. You can do a better job that way.”

I interviewed another veteran, Arnold Camacho, who is the Saint Martin’s Vet Corps Navigator, on why he chose Saint Martin’s. 

Camacho said, “A friend of mine in the Army was a civil engineer major here and she recommended Saint Martin’s.” 

Camacho says that he was accepted into other schools like University of Washington, but the commute would have been longer and Saint Martin’s is much smaller, with a tight-knit community. 

“People [in smaller campuses] are friendly opposed to bigger campuses,” he said. 

Camacho began his military career in the marines as a scout sniper, “I made a bet with my brother who is in the Navy and he said that I couldn’t pass the Marine boot camp. So I passed and joined.”

Camacho mentions that he has a lot of family in the military. He has three brothers and three uncles in the Navy. He did not enlist into the Navy because he wanted to challenge himself by joining the Marines. After his career in the Marines, he went on to join the Army. His jobs included psychological operations, infantry, and logistics. 

Recently, Saint Martin’s was named the first Purple Heart University in Washington State. I asked Camacho what his reaction was to this news.

“It’s an honor that is bestowed to only a few,” Camacho said, “and having Saint Martin’s supporting and honoring people who have served and were wounded. It’s a great honor to be here.”

Camacho mentioned that Saint Martin’s does a great job of supporting its veterans.

Jones was surprised that Saint Martin’s received such an amazing award over larger universities like Pacific Lutheran University or University of Washington.

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