The Student Veteran Organization (SVO) organization held its second annual Operation BBQ to raise money for the Gary Sinise Foundation, which helps to build smart homes that have automated features for wounded veterans.
The event was held on Saturday, April 25 out on the Bobcat Lawn. There were food trucks and an all-you-can-eat pig roast. There were also raffles, an inflatable basketball hoop, an obstacle course and DJs.
SVO Treasurer and Navy veteran Eric Salas believes this year’s event was better than last year.
“Last year was our first time doing it, so we had to see how we did. So, we learned from last year and … everything is going smoother this year,” he said.
Last year Operation BBQ raised money for Operation Once in a Lifetime, which is an organization that helps with a variety of needs for veterans and their families.
Beta Theta Pi was one of the organizations that showed up to support the SVO. Sophomore Nicholas Manson, a brother of Beta Theta Pi, said the weather played a part in improving this year’s Operation BBQ.
“[Last year] it was raining and no one showed up, but [this year] it’s beautiful, we have more people and it’s a great event,” Manson said.
Also helping out at the event was DJ and senior Justin Felix, who has a brother in the Army.
Felix was happy to partake in the event.
“As a DJ, I don’t do a lot of these kind of events. So, to provide these services to the men that watch our country and wave our flag proudly is a rewarding experience,” Felix said.
SVO President Zachary Peters, who is an Army veteran, feels a sense of pride in being able to help out his fellow service personnel. Peters originally joined the SVO to find a sense of belonging in the Quinnipiac community.
“I found it hard to integrate with younger students, so I found it easier to make friends with veterans that are my age because I can relate to them,” Peters said.
Salas said SVO helped him return to civilian life.
“In the military, it’s a whole different ball game, and a lot of people don’t recognize it,” Salas said. “I was nervous about getting back into school and how I’m going to do with my grades. The SVO provides a lot of resources to help people study and I have nothing but good things to say.”
Peters said that the Quinnipiac community, as a whole, is supportive of those who have served their country.
“I went to a national conference in January and I was amazed at how many [other schools’ veteran groups] get the same support that we do,” he said.
In respect to support, senior and SVO Press Representative Rebecca Choubah recalls what she heard from the veterans in this group.
“I’ve heard from a lot of the veterans that they feel a lot more comfortable, a lot more welcome, and they love it here,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Choubah