The 23rd annual Veterans Vigil will take place on November 12 and 13 at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The Vigil will kick off with a reception on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Rayburn Student Center (RSC) pre-function area followed by the opening ceremony at 10 a.m. in the conference rooms. At 11 a.m., a processional will take place to light the vigil flame that will burn continuously until it is extinguished at the closing ceremony on Thursday, November 13, at 4:30 p.m.
“It is such an honor to be able to host an event that recognizes veterans and their contributions. This year marks the 23rd annual Veterans Vigil for the university and each year it brings a sense of unity and patriotism to our campus,” said Jessica Gossett, assistant registrar. “Our focus this year is honoring our local veterans both on and off campus. We’d like to invite the community and student body to come pay homage to those that have sacrificed so much for this great nation.”
This year’s guest speakers are student chairs and scholarship recipients Master Sergeant George Evanko and Steven Allemang. Evanko entered the Army in 1987 where he trained at Fort Benning, Georgia for Infantry. In 1990, he was reclassified to Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic where he held many job titles such as Track Vehicle Driver, Senior Mechanic, Motor Sergeant, and Support Operations. Evanko has been awarded the Bronze Star Army Commendation medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and many others for his time in the service. Master Sergeant Evanko retired in August 2011 and currently lives with his wife in Leonard, Texas.
Steven Allemang was born in West Germany to a military family in 1973, moving back and forth between Germany and the States until 1987. He enlisted into the United States Marine Corps during his senior year of high school and left for Recruit Training in Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in 1991. Allemang was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom three times between 2004 and 2008. He was then mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, based at NAS JRB Fort Worth, from 2011 until his retirement in 2013 with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Allemang currently attends A&M-Commerce where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in both physics and mathematics, and an associate’s degree in astronomy. He is also the proud father of two teenagers, one boy and one girl.
The closing ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 13 on the walking mall of the RSC at 4:30 p.m. with the extinguishing of the vigil flame and a performance by the university chorale. In addition to Vigil activities, veterans can also receive a 10% discount at the university bookstore from November 10-14 with military id.
The third annual Veterans’ Ball will take place on November 15 in the RSC at 5:30 p.m. to end the Veterans Vigil. This year’s event will recognize local veterans and honor past and current veterans and their families.
“Each branch of the military has an annual birthday celebration to honor the founding of their branch,” said Jill Mobley, president of the student veteran association. “This is a continuation of that tradition, albeit modified to include celebrating all branches at one time. This year we are partnering with the Alumni Association’s ROTC Reunion to make our celebration bigger and better than ever!”
Attendees will enjoy a formal dinner, bar, and live entertainment provided by The Wonderfuls. Tickets are $20 for students and $25 for all others, and will be available for purchase through November 1.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the SVA at 903-886-5123 or Jill Mobley at 903-468-8664. You can also visit the website here.