Activities to honor veterans planned at Iowa Lakes
Iowa Lakes Community College will honor veterans in the region by sharing a virtual Veterans Day Celebration at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.
Dan Lutat, Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) of the United States Air Force, with 28 years of service, and Director of Iowa Lakes Government Affairs and Special Projects will be the Master of Ceremonies. Melissa Lutat, Master Sergeant (Retired) of the United States Air Force, with 22 years of service, and Iowa Lakes Career Pathway Navigator, shares reflections on Veterans Day in the program.
“I am blessed to have the best husband. Together we served on active duty in the United States Air Force for a combined 50 years,” said Melissa Lutat. “We are career Airmen, husband and wife, coworkers, and parents to eight independent community-minded children. We have served around the globe and have asked our children to sacrifice right along with us. We have watched our children grow and become productive citizens through those sacrifices, making a difference in their selected career choices, education, and pursuits. Along the way, we’ve all learned that sacrifice and service are great innovative engines, building the kind of resilience that enables America to withstand storm after storm.”
The program will showcase musical performances from the Iowa Lakes Choir singing the National Anthem directed by Professor Brett Fuelberth and the Iowa Lakes Handbell Ensemble led by Professor Carol Ayres Stueven performing America the Beautiful.
“The handbell ensemble is proud to be playing America The Beautiful, which is a wonderful piece about our country, and the heroes dedicated their lives to serve. We purposefully chose America the Beautiful to thank our veterans, through music, for the service and sacrifice for giving so much to all Americans. We are forever indebted,” said Ayres Stueven.
Melissa Lutat said, “It is an honor to represent the men and women of our American Armed Forces as we remember those in uniform serving today and those who served in the past. I am proud to be among the few who wore a uniform and defended America so our Nation could remain the land of the free while bringing hope to millions across the world.”
All campuses of Iowa Lakes will use the same virtual program to honor veterans. On the Emmetsburg, Estherville, and Spencer campuses, honor trees will be on display. In Estherville and Spencer, student senators will host a free meal over the lunch hour for Laker Veterans, including students, faculty, and staff.
The Emmetsburg Student Senate will donate $150 to the local Veteran’s Memorial to be used for holiday wreaths and hope to contribute to the Honor Flight for the second year in a row. On the Algona campus, the Student Senate will display an American flag in the window with a large “Thank you Veterans!” sign.
“Iowa Lakes has a proud tradition of serving those that have served. Our Military and Veteran students are very important to us, and we are proud to serve our Veterans in a way that reflects the gratitude we have for their service. Having served 38 years myself, I know what it means for a military member to sacrifice for their country. With respect, honor, and gratitude to all who have sacrificed in defense of this great Nation, thank you,” explained Tim Ireland, Career/Veteran/Military Services Coordinator at Iowa Lakes.
Iowa Lakes has earned many awards and established several programs for maintaining a military and veteran-friendly program, including the Employer Support of Guard Award, Reserves Patriot Award, the state-level Above & Beyond Award, the Public Sector State Nominee for the national level Freedom Award, “Top Veteran-Friendly” Award, and the Governor’s “Certified Higher-Education Academic Military Partner” or CHAMP college Status. Also, Iowa Lakes has earned the Best of the Best – Veteran Friendly Award from U.S. Veterans Magazine for four years in a row, one of just three community colleges in the United States to earn this distinction.
Additionally, Iowa Lakes maintains two Veteran Centers on the Emmetsburg and Estherville campuses, a Peer/Staff mentorship program, and multiple institutional Military and American Legion scholarship opportunities.