September 14, 2020
U.S. Rep. Max Rose told a group of Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) student veterans they are being prepared by BMCC for their next important mission during a September 11 virtual appearance at the Veteran’s Resource Center.
Rose—a decorated combat veteran in Afghanistan who represents Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn—recalled his own military experiences and answered a host of questions from the BMCC students and alumni attending the event that was hosted on the virtual platform Zoom.
Veterans Resources Manager Wilfred Cotto, Dean of the Division of Student Affairs Michael Hutmaker and Douglas Israel, Director of Government and Community Relations organized and spoke at the event. BMCC President Anthony Munroe also attended and offered welcoming remarks as well as a statement of gratitude to the BMCC students and alumni for their military service.
“We are indebted to you, we honor you and thank you for the leadership role you’re playing at BMCC,” said the president. “It is fitting for us to recognize your service on September 11, a day the nation acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice of so many.”
President Munroe also thanked Congressman Rose for taking time to speak with the students and listening to their concerns.
The congressman started his talk by expressing his deep affection for BMCC and its mission.
Rose, who serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said the nation has never asked more of its men and women in uniform. Recalling his deployment to Afghanistan, he said combat zones had grown increasingly complicated requiring levels of unprecedented courageous restraint and intellect.
“U.S. veterans are the brightest, strongest most intellectually versatile people alive today and are fully capable of coming home and taking on new challenges,” said Rose.
Rose told the students they are critical components in the next chapter in American history, that they will be needed to tackle some of the greatest, most stark challenges to have ever faced the nation.
“We need each and every one of you,” he said. “We need your tools and your experience. I look forward to partnering with you in the trenches around healthcare, economic development, public safety, tackling climate change and justice for all. And, that’s why I’m so proud to be here with each and every one of you today because BMCC is preparing you to do exactly that.”
The congressman took several questions and promised to investigate one student’s concerns surrounding issues with the Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) veteran’s benefit.
After the event, Ariel Robles, a Marine Corps. Vet and 2019 Engineering Science alumnus now at State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime said he was impressed by the congressman’s support and pledge to look into the issue.
“That he showed concern and said he was going to look into that issue made me realize he truly does support the veteran’s community,” said Robles, a first-generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic.
Robles, as well as Business Administration major and Marine Corps vet Jimmy Zaihui said although their military experience provided them with different backgrounds than most of their civilian peers, they are just “regular students.”
Robles said he is grateful for his time at BMCC and the leadership of Veterans Resource Center Manager Wilfred Cotto.
“Although I now have access to the SUNY Veterans Resource Center, no other school can compare to the level of support BMCC offers,” said Robles. “BMCC truly does take care of the student veteran community. For me, that was like, ‘Jackpot, I hit gold’ coming to a school that devotes so much energy and resources to its student veterans.”
Zaihui said the Veterans Resource Center offers support services that make the transition to becoming a college student less difficult.
“We’re used to following orders in the military,” said Zaihui. “As students, we have to learn how to manage our time, to try not be discouraged and to follow through.” He said the resource center helps student veterans apply for benefits, VA enrollment certificates and support with numerous other issues related to readjustment.
- Congressman Max Rose is a decorated war veteran
- President Munroe thanks student veterans for their service and leadership
- BMCC Veterans Resource Center offers array of services including help navigating veterans benefits