The Business Coalition for Veterans presented a $1,000 check Thursday to the Student Veterans Association at Central Community College. The money was raised at Husker Party in the Park for Veterans II, held Sept. 7 at Grace Abbott Park. Holding the check are (from left) Jaycee Carroll, Chef Anthony and Melissa DeLaet. In the middle row are Michael Rothe, Carol Schooley, Shannon Fesuluai, Ginny Bartunek and Dave Lopez. In the back row are Matt Slatter, Travis Karr, Keith Tinnell and Derek Apfel. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

Money donated to the veterans organization at Central Community College helps keep students and their families on track toward a successful future.

Emergency funds maintained by the Student Veterans Association help student veterans and their families get through the rough times, said Michael Rothe, president of the Grand Island Chapter of CCC’s Student Veterans Association.

A car might break down or run out of gas. The veteran and his family could need food. For the latter need, the Student Veterans Association operates a food pantry.

Veterans tend to sacrifice for the sake of their families, said Travis Karr, Veterans and Military Services director for all of the CCC campuses.

The vets will often quit school to get a job to “provide income because of those emergency situations,” Karr said.

The emergency funds will help them stay in school and keep their careers on the right path, he said.

So a $1,000 donation to the Student Veterans Association Thursday was much appreciated, Rothe and Karr said.

The money came from the Business Coalition for Veterans, raised at the Husker Party in the Park for Veterans II Sept. 7 at Grace Abbott Park.

Chef Anthony Brando, who founded the Business Coalition for Veterans, was on hand for the donation. Also representing the organization were Dave Lopez, Carol Schooley, Ginny Bartunek and Derek Apfel. The latter represented Apfel Funeral Home, which is a sponsor of the Business Coalition for Veterans.

Lopez, 64, was in the Marines from 1973 to 1977.

“I’m proud to be a Marine,” said the Grand Island native. The Marines taught him the importance of leadership, diversity, integrity and honesty.

The Student Veterans Association holds events of its own to raise money for the club, Rothe said.

The organization’s secondary mission is to battle a stigma that sometimes divides civilians and veterans. The group wants people to realize “that we’re approachable people and that they can come and talk to us” and have a good relationship, he said.

Rothe, who was in the Army for eight and a half years, was accompanied by Bailey, his service dog.

Also on hand were Keith Tinnell, the organization’s vice president, as well as Shannon Fesuluai and Matthew Slatter.

About 90 veterans attend CCC, Rothe said. Forty to 50 of them belong to the Student Veterans Association.

The gathering also included Melissa DeLaet of the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation and Jaycee Carroll, who is the administrative assistant in CCC’s Veterans and Military Services office.

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