Irene Ward gives a patriotic ribbon to Darlene Breining-Senseney during during a Veterans Day celebration at Carroll Community College Monday.
Irene Ward gives a patriotic ribbon to Darlene Breining-Senseney during during a Veterans Day celebration at Carroll Community College Monday. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

Past and present service members were honored Monday during a number of events held throughout the county to commemorate Veterans Day. The Times visited East Middle School, TownMall of Westminster and Carroll Community College to observe celebrations in honor of veterans.

East Middle School
Students sang or played patriotic songs on instruments and James Getty read "The Gettysburg Address," portraying Abraham Lincoln, at the middle school's Veterans Day event.
The Westminster school celebrated the service of veterans and held a dedication to the school's Freedom Shrine, which was unveiled Monday.
The shrine, donated by the Exchange Club of Hanover, Pa., is one of just two located in Carroll County school buildings. The other one is located in West Middle School and there is one in the Carroll County government building, according to Bob Channell, past president of the club.
The shrines contain plaques of historical documents, such as "The Gettysburg Address." Channell explains the plaques as windows into the nation's past.
"Studying the Freedom Shrine is like entering a time capsule," he said.
East Middle's shrine is located in the media center, which is a centralized location in the school, Principal Christian Roemer said.
"We wanted students to be reminded daily of everything the shrine stands for," he said.
Captain Jim DeWees, of the Maryland State Police, gave the keynote speech at the event. He explained that military veterans weren't always treated with respect when they returned home from serving overseas.
His father, a Vietnam veteran, had to hide being a soldier because looking like a soldier was dangerous amid the anti-war sentiment of the time, DeWees said. Now, soldiers are honored for their service to their country.
He challenged students to determine how they are going to serve their community or country, which doesn't have to mean serving in the military or becoming a police officer or firefighter.
"How will you make a difference in this world?" he asked. "In order for this community to thrive, you must give back."
Channell said the Exchange Club of Hanover, Pa., would like for an exchange club to start in the Westminster area. He said the goal is to eventually have a Freedom Shrine in every school in the county.



of Westminster
Those visiting the mall Monday may have wondered why a white van was sitting near the food court.
That van is the Veterans Shuttle with the Carroll Area Transit System Inc. Veterans who have registered with the Carroll County Department of Social Services may take the shuttle to VA medical centers and other specific places at no charge, according to the county's Veterans Services Program Coordinator Jeff Collins.
Collins, CATS Executive Director Louise Tinkler, Carroll County Department of Social Services Director Frank Valenti Jr. and others stood near the food court Monday distributing information about the service.
CATS' mission is to provide safe, efficient, affordable, customer-friendly community transportation to ensure mobility for the residents of Carroll County, according to its website.
Some destinations for veterans include Fort Meade, Fort Detrick and Veterans Centers. Veterans can be picked up at TownMall, Carrolltown Mall in Eldersburg or they can request a special pick-up if they are disabled.
Since the shuttle service started in November 2012, it has been utilized by veterans for around 200 trips.
Collins said many of the older veterans do not have a way to get to the VA centers, so the shuttle fills a community need.


Community College
Students stood in line Monday to get patriotic and all-American treats, such as kabobs made of marshmallows, strawberries and blueberries, a red, white and blue parfait, hotdogs and apple pie.
A banner hung in the college's Great Hall read "A Special Thanks to Every Veteran," and tables with information about different college services filled the room.
Sgt. Thomas McPhetridge, a U.S. Marine, said it's his first year at Carroll. He has been deployed three times to Iraq, Afghanistan and several other locations.
McPhetridge has been in the service for eight years and it's the first time he's been able to attend such a Veterans Day celebration.
"It's actually more than I expected," he said.
The tables at the event included representatives from academic affairs, career development, financial aid, the admissions office and other departments. Collins also attended the college event and talked to different veterans.
There are 103 veterans who are enrolled and are using military benefits, according to College President Faye Pappalardo. Helping veterans is a cause very close to her heart.
"I think it's very important that we stress services to veterans and let them know what is available," she said. "I just think we need to do whatever we can."
If there is an interest, the college is looking to start a student veterans organization. Pappalardo also wants to meet with veterans and see what else they would like from the college.
Joe Tatela, director of Disability Support Services for the college, said the population of veterans retiring from active duty is increasing because of the ongoing conflicts in places around the world, such as Afghanistan. There is also likely to be an increase in veterans with disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, he said.
"A lot of veterans, by nature, are independent and sometimes resistant to seeking support," he said. "Sometimes it takes a little more proactivity to reach out to them and encourage them."
Right now, he works with about 10 veterans. He stressed that his services are discreet and confidential, Tatela said.
McPhetridge is currently under vocational rehab with the military and is studying computer engineering at the college. He was hurt three years ago and signed up for Disability Support Services Monday, in addition to visiting other booths.
Many service men and women don't know what to do with their lives when they return home, so the resources available at the college Monday show that people are there to help veterans, McPhetridge said.
"It's a good thing the school is assisting veterans," he said.
Kenneth Lucero separated from the Air Force in March and started going to school at Carroll this semester to get his certificate for web development before he transfers to Towson University.
He took his daughter, 4-year-old Alexis, to the Veterans Day celebration Monday.
The two sat around eating hotdogs and took patriotic pins to wear proudly.
"I wanted to let her know what Veterans Day's all about," he said.