SRU honoring those who serve during Salute to Military and First Responders event


Sept. 11, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Any day is a good day to recognize the courageous men and women who risk their lives to serve others, but Slippery Rock University has chosen a home football game to coincide with SRU's annual "Salute to Military and First Responders" event.

Several activities will be staged at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium prior to the SRU football game against California University of Pennsylvania at 6 p.m., Sept. 30.

"This is a great opportunity for the SRU community to show its appreciation to veterans, current military and first responders," said Capt. Joe Barrow, assistant professor of military science. "It's also a great way for our campus to connect with veterans in the community because those groups usually don't interact with each other."

All military veterans, current military personnel and first responders will be admitted to the game for free, and will be asked to stand and be recognized between the first and second quarters. Additionally, the following groups will participate:

-The Pennsylvania National Guard will have interactive displays in the stadium parking lot that include a Stryker armored vehicle, a rock climbing wall, howitzer cannon, various weapons, helmets and other body armor. All will be available free of charge and open to the public.

-The Seneca Valley High School Junior ROTC will post the colors for the national anthem before the game.

-Representatives from VA Butler Healthcare will have a tent with information to support veterans' services and spectators will have the opportunity to "Hug a Vet" and donate to SRU's ROTC scholarship program.

-The Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Department will have one of its firetrucks on display in the stadium parking lot.

Fans can show their support for military personnel and first responders by purchasing a specially-designed T-shirt for $5 at the SGA Bookstore located inside the Smith Student Center or at the gate on game day. Thunderstix, provided by University Licensing, will be provided to all SRU students attending the game.

SRU's embrace of military personnel, current and former, is well documented. Victory Media, a veteran-owned company that helps veteran's transition back into civilian life, named the University a 2016 Military Friendly School.

Last year also marked the launch of The Military Support Group at Slippery Rock University. The student club offers support tailored specifically for military-connected students and any individual serving in the military.

A fallen comrades plaque in the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center memorializes eight SRU graduates who died in action as well.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Estocin. Estocin, a 1954 graduate and pilot, who died in 1967 during the Vietnam War, is memorialized in the Medal of Honor Room in the University's North Hall Welcome Center. Estocin is the only SRU graduate to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

This year's event marks the third consecutive season that SRU is hosting a military-themed football game. The event is sponsored by SRU's Athletic Communication Office, ROTC, athletics and the University Trademark and Licensing department.

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