Minot State Veterans Club, creating community for students
Civilian life is vastly different than military life, and when servicemen and women exit the military, they lose the comradery and community they are familiar with.
“There is not as strong a sense of, ‘we’re in this together’ in the civilian sector as there is in the military sector,” retired Air Force Staff Sergeant Rhaspede Logan said. “The military has a strategy of we’ll punish everybody so that everybody polices each other and that will teach you to lift each other up and to not leave anyone behind. There is also a big difference in world experience because the military forces you to adapt. They put you in position where you have to take extra responsibility. It forces you to stand on your own or work as a team,” Logan said.
The Minot State University Veterans Club exists to build strong friendships and connections among MSU veterans and to ensure their success in college. It accomplishes these goals two different ways. The first is through activities and social gatherings.
“We’ve had multiple movie nights or open house gatherings, and barbeques. We had a big triathlon last semester against the Native American Club where it brought us together and brought some competition to each other,” Dakota Brekhus, Veterans Club president, said. “It’s made lifelong connections for me that I probably couldn’t have made without being in the Veterans Club.”
Brekhus was awarded the Purple Heart after being shot twice while serving as an Army Infantryman in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
“After serving 21 years in the Air Force and seeing some of things we have done, it makes me feel part of the team again,” Richard Ditmars, Veterans Club vice president, said.
The second way the club helps ensure student success is by lending support and giving reliable information to future students or current students who have questions on veterans’ benefits.
“What we do here on campus is we provide as much support as we can to the different veterans trying to help guide them through different parts of school,” Ditmars said.
The Veterans Club also has various fundraisers open to the public throughout the year to support the club and to promote awareness of veterans’ issues to other students and the community.
The club will commemorate Veterans Day next week with a community fair outside the second-floor cafeteria Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a Veterans Day event in the Student Center Atrium on Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m., and a pancake breakfast at the Moose Lodge Nov. 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. That evening, the Minot Symphony Orchestra will honor veterans in its “Love and War: The Human Condition” performance at 7:30 p.m. in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, Old Main.
The Veterans Club is open to all current and former military members and their dependents. Club information can be found on its Facebook page. For more information, contact Ditmars at Richard.Ditmars@MinotStateU.edu.