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Edmonds CC launches Boots to Books and Beyond veteran support campaign


Boots to Books collage
Clockwise, from top left: Strom Peterson and Maria Montalvo, Woodway Mayor Carla Nichols, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, Edmonds CC Student Veterans Association President Andrew Smolen.
Boots to Books and Beyond
Associated Students of Edmonds CC presented a check to the Boots to Books and Beyond campaign. At far right is Chris Szarek, Veterans Resource Director, with student Board of Trustee John Jessop.

The Edmonds College Foundation has embarked on a $1 million campaign to support student veterans, ensuring a supportive path from military service to Edmonds College. Boots to Books and Beyond funds will support critical on-campus resources, services, and activities during the next five years and beyond.

Recently, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the college’s new, expanded Veterans Resource Center, President Jean Hernandez announced that $775,000 has been raised so far. “While Edmonds CC has a long history of being a veteran friendly campus, we are committed to better serving those who have served our country,” said Hernandez. “That is what sparked the vision for the Boots to Books and Beyond campaign.”

Edmonds CC’s vision is to foster an environment where veterans and their families get the support they need to overcome obstacles and achieve academically in an environment in which they are well prepared to begin fulfilling careers or pursue further educational opportunities.

The ribbon-cutting was also an opportunity to publicly recognize some of the campaign’s major donors, including Carla and Dean Nichols, Maria Montalvo and Strom Peterson, Verdant Health Commission, and the Hazel Miller Foundation.  “They are making it possible for us to open this new veterans center and offer better support to our students who are veterans,” said Hernandez.

The campaign is co-chaired by Steve Pennington, a retired Boeing executive, and Bill Keppler, a former civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army.

Among others helping to lead the campaign are local business people such as David Jaffe of Swedish Edmonds, Wendy Popke of Lynnwood Honda, Carl Zapora of Verdant Health Commission, Michelle and Ron Clyborne of Windermere Real Estate in Edmonds, and Mill Creek City Manager Ken Armstrong.

“Our work to fully realize the vision of the Boots to Books and Beyond campaign still needs community support,” said Hernandez. “We have $225,000 more to raise in order to provide the services urgently needed by our student veterans, including hiring a mental health counselor and post-traumatic stress disorder specialist, making emergency, gap and scholarship funding available to student veterans, and doing outreach work on military bases and in the community.

“Together we can create a place where veterans and their families get the support they need to overcome obstacles, gain critical knowledge and skills, and find fulfilling careers here in our community.”

To learn more or to donate to the Boots to Books and Beyond campaign, contact Pam Wanser at pam.wanser@edmonds.edu or 425.640.1884.

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Edmonds College Foundation