Ceremonial Coin Exchange honors Veterans at Potomac State

Potomac State accepts 5-Star Challenge

Student Veteran Fred Emmart (left), who serves as president of the Student Veterans Organization at Potomac State College of West Virginia University made the coin exchange with the College’s President Leonard Colelli, Ph.D., for Potomac State’s acceptance of the ‘5-Star Challenge’ on behalf of all student veterans. 

Ceremonial Coin Exchange honors Veterans at Potomac State

“Today we remember the immense sacrifice of our veterans and strive to improve our services to them,” stated Leonard Colelli, Ph.D. (left), who serves as president of Potomac State College of West Virginia University.  Others present for the Appreciation Breakfast and Coin Exchange included: Rebecca Wilkins (coordinator of the event); PSC Instructor Nicklaus Goff (Air Force); Students Avery Liller (National Guard); Burdetta Pratt (Army); Sandra Bowen (Army); Jason Bowen (Air Force), and Fred Emmart (Navy); PSC Instructor Mark Daniels (Air Force); and Lt. Colonel Joseph Grotto (Marines).  

Potomac State College of West Virginia University recognized student veterans with a ceremonial ‘Coin Exchange’ and breakfast as a way of honoring all of those who serve and have served their country. 

College President Leonard Colelli began the program by stating that the College is proud to be able to show our appreciation to veterans and asked those in attendance to introduce themselves, identifying with which military branches they’re affiliated.

He continued with, “This is a day of honor, when Americans pause to recognize our brave fighting men and women, who for more than 239 years have underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor and selfless-service. Today we remember the immense sacrifice made by our soldiers and families of soldiers, in conflicts around the world.”

The program also consisted of a ‘Coin Exchange Ceremony’ the meaning of which was explained by Instructor Nicklaus Goff, who served in the U.S. Air Force and who also serves as an advisor of the Student Veterans Organization, along with Instructor Mark Daniels, Ph.D. who served in the Air Force as well. 

“There are different coins for different things.  The coins are our individual history, our stories, our memories,” said Goff.   As he displayed three different coins from his personal collection, he told a little about each one stating that one was given to him by his commander, one was purchased for him as a gift and the other one was given to him by a group of fellow airmen as a way of making him an honorary member of their unit. 

Fred Emmart, who serves as president of the Student Veterans Organization, presented the Challenge Coin to President Colelli for the College’s acceptance of the ‘5 Star Challenge’ to which Colelli responded, “Our institution is dedicated to providing quality education and services to our student veterans and their dependents. So, we have proudly accepted the 5 Star Challenge. Completing this Challenge will ensure that the appreciation for you we hold in our hearts is matched in our deeds. We will work diligently over the course of the next year to continue implementing the various measures in the Challenge including the Principles of Excellence, the 8 Keys to Success, our State’s Veteran Friendly Campus Act, priority registration, and increased awareness, training, and services designed to ensure your success here at Potomac State College.

The speaker for the event was Past President of the College Joseph Gratto, Ph.D., who served as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Marines.  He spoke about the brotherhood of those who served and how the military prepared him for other endeavors during his life, stating, “Half of success is just showing up, the other half is showing up with the right skill set.  The years I spent in the military taught me much of what I needed to know and how to interact with people at various levels.”

Rebecca Wilkins, who serves as a financial aid counselor at the College, coordinated the breakfast which was sponsored by the Division of Student Life.