VALOR to celebrate Veterans Awareness Week, Nov. 5-10, with series of events

The Wake Forest University School of Law Veterans Advocacy Law Organization (VALOR) will be celebrating Veteran’s Awareness Week this year with a series of events.

VALOR, formed in the spring of 2011, is comprised of law students who aim to put the spotlight on veterans issues and laws, provide support to homeless veterans in Winston Salem, and offer volunteer opportunities to students to help veterans and military families.

Though there are approximately three quarters of a million veterans living and working in North Carolina, the service, sacrifice, and struggle of veterans and the American military family often goes unacknowledged, especially once a veteran has re-entered civilian life, according to VALOR members.

“It is easy to recognize and acknowledge the military service member while he or she is in uniform, but once these veterans separate from the service and reenter civilian life, they look just like everyone else,” said VALOR President Mike Miranda (’13), a veteran himself. “Veterans are among your teachers, doctors, lawyers, athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs  and politicians; they are literally in every facet of life.”

Unfortunately, while many veterans are able to transition into civilian life after service with ease, many others face significant personal obstacles, from physical disabilities, substance abuse, or mental health concerns. VALOR aims to raise funds to support aid facilities for veterans in need, and raise community awareness about this prominent issue, especially during Veterans Awareness Week, according to Miranda.

This fall, VALOR will be adopting a unit currently stationed in Afghanistan.  Throughout this year’s Veteran’s Awareness Week, VALOR will be placing a collection box in the first floor student lounge for donations of useful items to be sent overseas to the adopted unit. Additionally, a table will be set up in the law school’s hallway so that students, faculty, and staff may write personal thank-you notes to be included in packages sent over to the troops of the adopted unit.

VALOR will be screening the film, “Act of Valor” at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, in Room 1312, and providing snacks and refreshments to celebrate. Veteran students, faculty, and staff also will be honored for their service at a Veteran’s Reception on Thursday, Nov. 8.

The other major VALOR effort to commemorate Veteran’s Awareness Week this year will be the Second Annual VALOR Veterans Day 5k at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Reynolda House. Registration for the event is currently open, and accessible here. Following the race, VALOR will partner with both Reynolda House and the Pro Bono Project to conduct informational sessions on various legal topics.

Pulled pork sandwiches, raffle tickets, and race admission tickets will be sold from 12-1 p.m.  on Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the law school courtyard. Additionally, VALOR elections will take place online via WIN on Friday, Nov. 9.

“We want these veterans to know that we have not forgotten their honor and service, and we as a community will continue to stand behind them until they find peace and success,” Miranda said. “Through our Awareness Week activities, we hope to bring the community’s attention to these issues while raising the funds necessary to provide much needed support to the facilities dedicated to helping those veterans in greatest need.”

For more information about Veterans Awareness Week, or VALOR’s efforts, contact Miranda at miramd0@wfu.edu or David Denninger at denndh11@wfu.edu.