Battle Buddy plaque unveiled in the Marvin Library

Nichole Danyla, Staff Writer

The Armed Forces Study Room in the library unveiled a new plaque on Friday, Mar. 7. The plaque was created by New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID).

NYSID gave money several years ago to the Derek Farley Memorial Fund here on campus to support local military members and veterans attending Hudson Valley.

The NYSID approached Carrie Farley, founding member of the Armed Forces Club, wanting to contribute to the SSG Derek Farley Memorial Veterans Support Fund in honor of her son, who was killed in Afghanistan. Farley told NYSID that since scholarships are already offered for veterans, the money might be better spent in opening up a Battle Buddy Center, also known as the Armed Forces Study Room in the Marvin Library.

NYSID has five such centers in local colleges, the newest being in Columbia Greene Community College.

The room has been open since Nov. 12, 2012. Recently, however, NYSID wanted to create a plaque that would create uniformity for all of their Battle Buddy Centers in the area.

“[The study room] is used extensively,” said Farley. It is available to all veterans on campus any time the library is open and is also the meeting place for the Armed Forces Club.

“HVCC started out as a vocational school for veterans of Vietnam,” said President Drew Matonak.

“We are continually looking for ways to support our student veterans and the opening of the armed forces room in 2012 was a big step forward,” said Matonak.

Ron Romano, president and CEO of NYSID, said, “[The battle buddies study room] provides a home for veterans to study.”

“[The study rooms] are based on the military concept of Battle Buddies,” said Ron Romano, president and CEO of NYSID. The concept is that soldiers are paired with a fellow military members and veterans to study and connect with.

Col. Eric Hesse acknowledged that a lot of progress has been made helping veterans but stated that there still a lot of work to be done.

Associate Dean Karen Ferrer-Muniz agreed, saying, “a lot of things have happened and more is yet to come to help students.”

Sean Sutton, a biotechnologies major, veteran of the United States Marine Corps. and member of the Armed Forces Club, said, “I’m proudly in this room 90 percent of my day…[and I] look forward to coming to school.”

Another student veteran, Linda McKinnis, who served in the army in the 48th Brigade said, “ [The room] is a place where nobody judges you. There’s help physically, emotionally and mentally if you need it.”

All of the student veterans agreed that the room is a great place to vent to each other because they are all having similar experiences.

“I realize now I’m not alone,” said Sutton.

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