Harford Community College honors local military contributions
The Aberdeen Proving Ground Joint-Service Color Guard kicks off Harford Community College's first Military Appreciation Day Nov. 8 in Bel Air, Md.

BEL AIR, Md. -- America must never forget its veterans' contributions to the nation's security, speakers told about 75 students, faculty, residents and service members Nov. 8 at Harford Community College's first Military Appreciation Day.

The crowd gathered outside the historic Hays-Heighe House in an early commemoration of Veterans Day. They honored retired Staff Sgt. Mitch Court, an HCC student who was wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007. Court was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor medals.

Brig. Gen. Harold Greene, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, said Court continues to serve the nation.

"There is one person I would like to recognize. He epitomizes what our Soldiers do today - Staff Sgt. Court," Greene said. "He was injured while serving in Iraq, but he continues to serve.

"Mitch is a student here, but he also works for a defense contractor on a number of programs, including the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle that our Soldiers are using today in Afghanistan and Iraq. He continues to serve as he supports getting the best systems we possibly can to our Soldiers in the field."

Harford County Executive David Craig echoed Greene's remarks. Craig told the story of Joseph Davis, one of eight men killed in World War I from Havre de Grace, Md. The American Legion named its first post after Davis.

When Craig began to research Davis' life, he found the American Legion had photos and a brief biography of Davis, but it did not know where he was buried. Craig discovered that Davis was buried with his parents at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery. He had almost been forgotten, Craig said.

"We are recognizing the military [members] who are here, who we can see," Craig said. "It's important to recognize military personnel who we no longer see, and in some cases, are forgotten. We must make sure not to forget them."

Staff Sgt. Hiriam Hendri is a medical laboratory specialist with the U.S. Army Public Health Command at APG and also an HCC student. He expressed gratitude for opportunities to become a better Soldier by furthering his education.

Hendri said HCC's flexible scheduling allows him to take classes online, at its APG facility and at the college campus. More than 550 active duty, guard and reserve, veterans and military family members attend the school, which has supported APG Soldiers and their families for 55 years.

"None of this would be possible if the military did not encourage self-improvement or support service members who want to attend college," Hendri said. "I can say from personal experience that an educated Soldier is a more proficient and capable Soldier.

"Completing college courses provides me with a sense of accomplishment, provides intellectual challenge and expands a student's knowledge base."

Greene told the audience that APG is the Army's new hub for research, development and engineering. Civilians can also serve America by developing the best technology and equipment for troops.

"There is a tremendous transformation going on at Aberdeen Proving Ground. You can serve in uniform," Greene said. "You can serve as a government civilian or contractor developing the tactics, techniques, procedures, and equipment that will allow our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to succeed on the battlefield and defend this wonderful country."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16