Del Mar College President Mark Escamilla kicked off Independence Day early by awarding faculty and staff who served in the military special lapel pins July 1 in the Veterans Center on East Campus.
“We’ve been celebrating our independence for 239 years — longer than other countries in the world,” Escamilla said. “Our freedoms can’t be taken for granted. They have to be defended.”
Navy veteran Tammy Micallef, director of the Veterans Center, joined Air Force veterans Carlos Garanzuay, College Relations office coordinator, and Sandra Valerio, assistant professor of English, to accept lapel pins and represent employees who could not attend.
“I reflect on the learning that takes place in the military classroom versus the academic classroom,” Valerio said. “I share in their frustrations at times with the expectations from each other but I know they can expect from me and I from them a sense of friendship, camaraderie, support and pretty much anything I have to offer.”
Del Mar College President Mark Escamilla (from left) stands with veterans Sandra Valerio, assistant professor of English, Tammy Micallef, director of the college’s Veterans Center, and Carlos Garanzuay, College Relations office coordinator, after presenting them with lapel pins on July 1 on East Campus.
Valerio said the pin is a reminder to veteran students that she is there for them and looks forward to using her experience to help them in their academic career.
The Veterans Center offers assistance to veterans and active duty military members who need help through their college career or advancement.
“After serving in the Navy for 21 years and then teaching special education for six years, I was looking forward to a new and rewarding experience and that is exactly what I found at Del Mar College,” Micallef said.
Escamilla also presented the Veterans Center with an additional tribute that symbolized the college’s gratitude to all who served and currently serve in the military. The framed poster will stand as a constant symbol of gratitude and states, “For sacrifices which can never be repaid, Del Mar College thanks our nation’s military veterans.”
Escamilla planned to honor veterans at West Campus later in the day.