It was the start of Student Services’ “40 Days of Thanks” campaign, which also includes holiday cards people can sign and send to a member of the military.
“We also are accepting donations for South Park Inn, and we also have a Wall of Thanks,” says Alison Valone Suhocki, assistant registrar and one of the organizers. “Students, faculty, staff can come over and sign on the wall and say what they’re thankful for. It’s really some things to really home in on being thankful for where we are in our lives and for those who have served, and to support those who are serving.”
The celebration included cupcakes—260 of them frosted red, white and blue, arranged to resemble an American flag.
Among the veterans on hand was Suzanne Zimmerman, a receptionist in the UConn School of Dental Medicine, who provided administrative support for a military intelligence unit while stationed in West Germany during the Cold War. She says today’s service members face a different world.
“We’re out there, and this is a time when I wouldn’t want to be out there,” Zimmerman says. “I wouldn’t want my son to be out there, but I give these women and men a lot of credit to be out there.”
Gregory de Gruchy spent four years on active duty with the Marines, including tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, before finishing his undergraduate studies at UConn. Now in his first year at the UConn School of Medicine, he says his experience helped steer him toward a career in medicine.
“When I was in the military I really realized I wanted to work in health care,” de Gruchy says. “I was involved in my unit in some of the aspects of the stress of deployments. We were a very high-deployment unit and we had to deal with a lot of the issues that come up with that pace of operations.”