As USF Sarasota-Manatee students begin fall semester, 61 local troops from Sarasota and Manatee counties are currently deployed in Afghanistan. To show their support, students, faculty and staff are sending postcards to the soldiers in partnership with Manasota Operation Troop Support (MOTS).
Along with the postcards, USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty member, Ross Alander, has agreed to be the advisor for the campus Veteran Student Organization. Alander is a Vietnam Veteran, serving as a Vietnam Combat Engineer and is very passionate about this group, hoping to strongly impact the approximately 50 veteran students at USFSM. “I feel that it is essential that we not only have and support a USFSM Veteran’s Association on campus but also partner with local organizations to provide a wide variety of support services for these returning vets,” he said. “’Welcome home, we are here for you’ is our charge. I am especially in support of making this work for our vets as I am a Vietnam veteran and there were no such services when we returned. The lack of services back then led to some bad things happening to both vets and their families. We cannot and will not let that happen,” he added.