The Military Order of the World Wars awarded three outstanding people for their dedication, patriotism and steadfast support. Commander of the local chapter, Brig Gen Fred Lopez presented the awards.
LTC George Davis (US Army) gave the gathering a status report on the UCSB ROTC Surfrider Battalion, which he heads up. Currently the ROTC has 68 students enrolled in the program and ten of those will be commissioned in June 2014. He noted the Junior class is the largest they’ve had since the mid 1980’s with 17 young men & women. More than a dozen students from the program mixed in with the MOWW members giving the new guard a chance to meet and mingle with the old guard. Lt Col Davis introduced the ROTC students in the house and each got a nice round of applause.
After this, BG Lopez presented the awards. Unable to attend due to illness, Lt. Bernard Drury, USN (Fmr), a 13-year member of MOWW received the “Outstanding Service Award” for his exceptional work on behalf of the Chapter. His responsibilities have included Chapter Surgeon for ten years and Chapter Staff Officer for more than five years. Lt. Drury has assisted the Commander and staff by serving on various committees. He provided helpful medical advice to Companions via the Chapter’s monthly newsletter.
Dr. Frank Cox was recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation and honorary membership in the MOWW for his dedication to documenting the men & women who have served our country in a series of more than 70 stories he did for the Santa Barbara News Press over the last three years. The former SBCC professor in psychology & sociology and author, Cox said, “It is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.” He handed out packet to all those in attendance which noted the names of all of the service men & women he wrote up.
The Silver Patrick Henry Medallion and miniature medal was presented to Dr. Kirsten Olson, PhD who Chairs the USCB Veterans Resource Team, recognized for her significant contribution to the cause of Patriotism in our community. As a clinical psychologist working in Counseling and Psychological Services at UCSB she has made a significant difference in the care of our student veterans. Dr. Olson has distinguished herself by developing assistance and training programs such as “Boots to Books,” “Troops to College,” and “Understanding Trauma and PTSD.” In presenting the award, Gen Lopez said, “We sincerely appreciate her dedication and service on behalf of our student veterans and is in keeping with goals and precepts of The Military Order of the World Wars.” Dr. Olson has truly made a difference.
She was overcome with emotion noting, “This is such a great honor.” Although she never served in the military, she thanked those who taught her about war and it’s aftermath. She thanked her father and grandfather who served in the Navy, as well as her husband Dustin, a colleague on UCSB’s VRT Master Sergeant Jon Parra (US Army/Retired) and John and Hazel Blankenship, co-founders of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Museum & Library Foundation. “Those people taught me how the experience of war builds resilience and I learned what it’s like to climb back after the experience of war. They helped me to grow.” Dr. Olson’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Herman Trabbic were present and beaming at the dinner meeting.
ABOUT and how to join the local chapter:
The MOWW was established in 1919 to promote the welfare of this nation and provides an opportunity for Officers of all uniformed services to unite in a strong program to promote national security, patriotism, good citizenship and service to country.
MOWW has more than 11,000 members in 155 chapters across the U.S. Membership is open to all recognized Commissioned Officers and is also open to spouses and descendants of officers.
Going into it’s tenth decade the MOWW has strong ties to the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts recognizing each youth who attains the rank of Eagle Scout or earns the Gold Award, respectively.
If you’re interested and eligible to become a member of the MOWW, please contact Major Jose Ramirez at (805)965-5839 or BG Fred Lopez at (805)964-9546. Monthly meetings are held at the Elks Club in Goleta on the third Tuesday of the month.