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Centralia College to unveil monument to honor veterans
Posted: 10/26/2012 UPDATE:  View the slideshow of the unveiling of the Boots-2-Books Veterans Memorial, Nov. 13

United States Armed Forces veterans, past, present and future, will receive special recognition in the form of a monument on the Centralia College campus, thanks to the efforts of Rod Saarela, the Veterans Corps representative on campus.

The monument and its unveiling will be the centerpiece of the college’s Nov. 13 Veterans Day recognition ceremony that begins at 10 a.m. at the flag plaza, located near the Hansen Bldg., at the intersection of Rock and Walnut streets. The public is invited.

“When I started working at Centralia College there were minimal services for veterans, and I thought a lot about what would be important to veterans,” Saarela said. He knew that educational services would top the list for those making the transition from military service to higher education but there needed to be something more to honor the men and women, past, present and future, who served and will serve in the Armed Forces.

“A Boots-2-Books monument was part of other college campuses and I believed a monument needed to be a part of this campus,” Saarela said.

Various groups, including the Leadership Development Group, Student Government, and the Rotaract Club are among the campus donors; The American Legion, VFW, and Centralia Monument are among the off-campus donors.

The monument, a bronze casting of Saarela’s service boots and college textbooks he used, will sit atop a stone base. All funds raised that are above the monument’s $8,000 cost will be used to provide equipment and furnishings for a Veterans Center, a room to be set aside on campus for veterans.

“It is important to have a safe zone, a place where veterans can feel safe and share experiences with those who have lived through what they have,” Saarela said.

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