Why Do We Celebrate Veterans Day? Military Advisors' Views

SNHU career and academic advisors Alex Chapa, Mallory Grenier, Ryan Ladd, Leonard Bell and Colleen Kuplast.

Southern New Hampshire University has supported the military since 1932 and continues that support with a dedicated group of military veterans who advise military students, veterans and their families. Several of those who work with military students at SNHU spoke recently about what Veterans Day means to them.


SNHU academic advisor Chad LaBrie.Chad Labrie

Labrie is a military academic advisor and served in the U.S. Army from 2006-2010.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day has always been an important time to recognize those who have served in this country’s armed forces. As a prior veteran and member of a family that has a long history of those who have served, it has been a time to honor those who selflessly devoted their time to protect the freedoms of others. It’s an opportunity to pay respect and let those who have made many sacrifices know that it has not gone unnoticed.

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

As a veteran, the time in service helped to positively shape much of my character post-military. The Air Force reinforced values such as integrity and excellence in all we do. Those values have become a big part of who I am as a professional and in my personal life as a husband and father. Those values presented themselves because of the opportunities and life experiences that were available to me while serving.

SNHU academic advisor Colleen Kuplast.Colleen Kuplast

Kuplast is a military academic advisor and served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day is an opportunity to thank those who were willing to put their lives on the line to protect our country. While not all may have faced war time or been actively deployed, they were willing to. Honoring their time away from family, friends and altering their lives is something that I will always be thankful for.

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

I’ll always be grateful for my time in the Navy. It gave me the opportunity to carry on a last name that has served over many generations. It shaped me in the sense of the support system I have from those I met along my journey in the Navy. It offered me the chance to pursue higher education and continue on after completing my enlistment and it continues to open new doors for me and introduce me to great people.

SNHU academic advisor Mallory Grenier.Mallory Grenier

Grenier is a military academic advisor and served in the U.S. Air Force.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day reminds me of humble beginnings; my last steps taken in the shoes of a teenager and my first steps taken in the boots of a service member. I am also reminded of the day I laced my boots up for the last time.

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

I would not be a veteran if it weren’t for the military, and I would not have an education if it weren’t for SNHU. Both experiences led me to where I am today – waking up with a smile on my face every morning, knowing I have two sides to a coin I can use in every interaction I have with military-affiliated students.

SNHU career advisor Leonard Bell.Leonard Bell

Bell is an military career advisor and served in the U.S. Navy.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day is important to me because of those who have served before me, with me and serving now. My wife (30 years of Navy service), my Dad (Vietnam veteran), my Grandfather (World War II veteran), my brother (currently serving as Navy support activity Hampton Road Command Master Chief) and my son-in-law (currently serving as senior chief petty officer). It’s a great day to honor those who have served and are continuing to serve our great nation!

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

It has helped me to appreciate and value people and life. It has prepared me to adapt to any situation and to overcome any challenge I face.

SNHU assistant director of military initiatives John Murphy.John Murphy

Murphy is an assistant director of military initiatives and served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day is important to me because it’s a day for me to reflect on my time serving this great country. To reach out to my friends and past battle buddies whom I served alongside with and thinking about all the great times and how they are some of the best and loyal friends that you only gain from serving in uniform together. This Veterans day will also be extra special for me, because my oldest son got commissioned in the U.S. Air Force, and I had the honor of giving him his first salute!

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

My experience from my military career helped shape me into an all-around better person. It provided me with the opportunity to earn my undergraduate degree in business while still in uniform, which allowed me to work toward my master’s degree in higher education post-military. The military also taught me strong interpersonal and leadership skills, which are essential for succeeding in today’s workplace.

SNHU career advisor Alex Chapa.Alex Chapa

Chapa is a military career advisor and served in the U.S. Army.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day is a time to reflect on all the people throughout our U.S. history who have been brave enough to stand up, raise their hand and say an oath to protect our country – even if it meant they had to give their life in defense of our nation, or maybe just the person next to them. It’s also important to remember that not everyone who joins the military wants to go to war, but everyone still knows it’s possible – which makes the bravery of an all-volunteer military all that much more significant.

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

Being a veteran means you are part of an elite club of people who share a bond and mutual respect while supporting each other in any way we can. Only 2% of the entire U.S. population has any affiliation with the military, whether it’s by being currently enlisted or a veteran. This shared experience facilitates networking with other veterans to help not only with careers, but also morale building, achieving life goals and supporting each other in times of need. I have utilized my veteran status in both my professional and personal life, as well as to connect with new friends.

SNHU academic advisor Ryan Ladd.Ryan Ladd

Ladd is a military academic advisor and served in the U.S. Army.

As a veteran or member of a military family, why is Veterans Day important to you?

Veterans Day is important to me for a number of different reasons. Of course there is no greater accomplishment for me personally than serving my country in the greatest capacity that I knew of, but there were other factors personally for me that made the experience one I will never forget.

I am the first and only member of my family to enlist in the military. This is something I hold near and dear to my heart because it's mine, I own it. It is a journey I began on my own and a journey I completed on my own. Academia was not something I would consider to be an asset of mine as a student. School and I just did not agree. Since most of the people in my family excelled in school and went on to college, I felt a certain pressure and disappointment when I knew that this was not a path I was interested in pursuing. In my family from the time I could remember the focus was one day going to college with college fund accounts opened while we were still in diapers. In my later years of high school, I felt a bit lost and unsure of what the future held for me. When I made the choice to enlist, my family was never prouder. When Nov. 11, Veterans Day comes around each year, I am reminded of the journey, the education and the pride that only I accomplished.

How did your experience shape your post-military path?

Once my military career ended and I began to look at the next step in my journey, I became aware of the multitude of opportunities that my service could provide. With tuition assistance from the Army I was now able to embark on continuing education and today I am working towards my master’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University. My military training and background also qualified me for particular careers such as a correctional officer for which I worked 15 years for the New Hampshire Corrections Department. I am very grateful for the opportunities that my military service has provided me post discharge and I now have the opportunity to pay it forward as a military academic advisor and help new veterans begin their post military path within the college system. 

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