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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene honored military veterans with a Veterans Day Celebration on November 9, 2015.

The ceremony included a presentation of colors by the UH Army ROTC Color Guard and a moment of silence to remember the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war.

Hawaiʻi Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, herself a veteran, was the keynote speaker.

“I’m really pleased to see the cadets here today, representing a generation through their own example of having chosen service,” Gabbard said.

UH Mānoa’s nursing school is doing its part to honor and assist veterans after recently receiving federal Health Resources and Services Administration funding for the Vets-to-Nursing Program. The school will provide college credits for a veteran’s past medical experience, creating a quick pathway to professional nursing and employment for service members with skills and experience in healthcare.

“It not only empowers the veterans to be able to continue their profession, to be able to continue their service,” said Gabbard. “But it also helps I think people within our community at large to learn more about, you know, what their lives have been like and what their service has been like.”

Programs like this mean a lot to veterans pursuing their higher education.

“It doesn’t feel like the nine years I did in military is wasted,” said Chase Haygood, a Mānoa nursing student. “It feels like, okay, somebody else recognizes, besides the military, what I have done and what I have been through. So ya, it feels great.”

The initiative is the first program of its kind in Hawaiʻi, and is part of a national effort to address the growing demand for healthcare services throughout our nation.

The nursing school’s Vets-to-Nursing program is among many recent efforts to support veterans. UH’s ten campuses began offering in-state tuition to all veterans in the spring 2015 semester.

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