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Sen. Warner Leads the Way at Veterans Day Service Event

A crowd of several hundred volunteers gathered in Webb Center on Thursday, Nov. 11, to bundle up gift packages for the families of active-duty military.

The "Call To Service" Veterans Day event was hosted by Old Dominion University and featured Sen. Mark Warner. It was one of 20 such events taking place across the country on Veterans Day.

Volunteers wrote letters to families of active-duty military members, thanking them for their bravery and contribution to the nation. Then, after a short speaking program, the volunteers lined up to fill gift bags full of goods donated by Walmart.

The Veterans Day Service Event was co-sponsored by Blue Star Families, a nonprofit that supports families of deployed service members, and Mission Serve, a civilian-military coalition connecting civilian and military families through a broad array of service and volunteer partnerships.

Warner said 2 million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that fully 80 percent of those veterans who have returned home from dangerous war zones have indicated an eagerness to continue their service. He added that the Veterans Day Service Event is a perfect way to reach out.

"There is no greater concentration of veterans and military personnel anywhere in America," Warner said of Hampton Roads. "This community doesn't just honor its veterans on Nov. 11, but honors its veterans and military families every day of the year."

That call to serve among veterans also inspired Warner to help in the creation of an arm of the service-based AmeriCorps, known as Veteran Corps, specifically established to tap into the vast pool of expertise among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

ODU Provost Carol Simpson said the Veterans Day Service Event is also reflective of what Old Dominion is trying to accomplish through its 2009-14 Strategic Plan.

One of the plan's main goals is to strengthen ODU's civic engagement. "That means the connection between the university community and the community of Hampton Roads," Simpson said.

"The Center for Service and Civic Engagement really provides that opportunity to engage in meaningful acts of service. What you're all about to do today with the packing and the packaging of gifts is really a good example of that."

This article was posted on: November 12, 2010

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