Celebrating our veterans 365 days a year

By Colin Remes

It’s great and wonderful that we celebrate Veteran’s Day once a year. A day when everyone as a nation is reminded to recognize those who serve, make sacrifices and sometimes give their lives to protect our freedoms. There are, however, another 364 days in the year. That’s why it’s important to do everything we can to help our veterans.

There is a significant military presence in DeKalb and at NIU. Not just the ROTC unit on campus, but there are many students here that are veterans of our current Afghanistan and Iraq wars that have served their time. And now have, thankfully, returned to the U.S. safely to pursue higher education.

An available service to veteran’s here in DeKalb is The Veterans Assistance Commission of DeKalb County, Illinois Inc. 2500 N. Annie Glidden Road. This organization is run by veterans for veterans and offers information with an assortment of things veterans may need. Including educational benefits, medical expenses, prescriptions and G.I. home loans.

Services are also available through NIU and the division of student affairs known as Military Student Services. Located in Adams Hall Room 409, Military Student Services can assist students who are veterans who have completed their service and students who have had to put their education on hold in order to serve. According to www.niu.edu/militaryservices, upcoming events for February include “Food Frenzy Wednesdays” which has free food every Wednesday in Adams Hall with military students, and every other week they will have a guest speaker and topic to discuss.

One of the things we can do other than simply saying thank you is making sure that veterans are aware of the services available to them and that we make sure that these services continue to be available.

A delicious aspect of DeKalb that all veterans can enjoy is Huskie’s Pizza, 850 Pappas Drive. Huskies Pizza will give a free gigantic slice of pizza and drink to any veteran, any day of the year. All 365 days worth. I had an opportunity to ask the owner, Gary Geisler, why he offered this small but important service, as I have never heard of any restaurant, anywhere doing this.

“It’s just my small way of saying thank you, because people don’t realize the sacrifice that these men and women make,” Geisler said. “Not only with their own lives, but the lives of their families and friends. When soldiers came back from Vietnam they were not treated well at all. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

My little brother, Senior Airmen Adam Remes, recently returned from Afghanistan, and will be coming to visit me in two weeks. I can’t wait to have him try a slice.