Giving Back to Veterans

Students and faculty at Aurora University recently started the Veterans and Military Student Association, or VMSA, to help Chicagoland veterans and active duty military and families.

Doctor Kristie Brendel initiated the group after her hometown was touched personally by a marine’s story.

“My daughter’s best friend’s brother was shipped to Afghanistan and had an accident,” Brendel said. “It was the first time in my world, in my area of Oswego, that something like this had happened.”

Twenty-year-old Kyle Moser lost both of his legs while serving last November, after stepping on a roadside bomb.

Moser enlisted in the marines at the age of seventeen.

“I wanted to be a hero in life, to make a difference. The fact that you go through training and see so much, it makes you feel older. In reality, you know you’re still 20,” Lance Corporal Moser said.

Brendel told her psychology classes about Moser’s story last semester and students were eager to begin helping out.

The VMSA held a fundraiser at Aurora’s first home football game, raising more than $800.

“It’s amazing how the Spartans have been supportive of the endeavors. Everyone is touched and honored to be able to do something for Moser,” said Brendel.

All of the VMSA’s fundraising efforts this year will be given to Moser. He is known for his optimism and compassion for others.

“Me fighting for them and them doing this is like a huge circle. [I’ve received] nothing but support and it means so much,” explained Moser.

Moser received a Purple Heart for his service and has been recovering back in the states since the accident.

Members of the club hope to inspire others to give back and remember the lives that are forever changed by military service.

Being a veteran myself, military has a special place in my heart,” said Mary Bellomo, “Fundraising efforts are important, but the biggest benefit is that everyone is getting the awareness factor, bringing veterans like Kyle and other veterans in our community together, bridging that gap.”

Bellomo hopes the group will motivate others to get involved with local veteran organizations like the VFW.

The VMSA has high hopes for the future. They plan to sponsor a different veteran each year and to host service projects for the community.

Anyone interested in learning more about the group or helping Moser can email auvmsa@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page.

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