WYE MILLS — For nearly 15 years, Chesapeake Community College has hosted a public Veterans Day Celebration to recognize and offer gratitude to its staff and students who have served in the United States armed forces.
The school, for the second consecutive year, invited Army veteran and Chesapeake graduate Sgt. Geraldine Walker Caraballo to speak during the celebration.
Caraballo was the first female commander of Mannie Scott Post 193 in Denton, and served in the U.S. military for 30 years. She graduated from Chesapeake College in 2016 with a degree in early childhood development.
Caraballo currently tutors pre-K students at Ridgely Elementary School in Ridgely because she’s “gotta keep busy,” she said.
At the end of the ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, Caraballo also performed “Taps,” a distinctive U.S. military melody.
Lunch for the veterans in attendance was provided by Chick-Fil-A of Kent Island, as it has been doing the past several Veterans Day celebrations at the college.
Rhonda Thomas and Rich Bayliss, of the Chesapeake College Department of Public Safety, performed the Posting of the Colors.
Early Childhood Development students delivered the pledge of allegiance before clearing the floor for Chesapeake President Dr. Cliff Coppersmith, who delivered the celebration’s opening address.
Sean Priest, a student at the college, sang the National Anthem — setting the tone for the anticipated remarks from Caraballo.
Marcie Molloy, director of public information at Chesapeake College, said the veterans event “allows the students and employees a chance to thank veterans for their service in general and a chance to honor the people who are part of the Chesapeake College family.”
Molloy said one of the celebration’s highlights every year is the photo slideshow of veterans, which includes students, employees or veteran relatives.
“We have a consistent message of just honoring the service of folks who have been in the military,” she said, adding that it’s important to the college to take time to honor and remember veterans.