Veterans Day events recognize two Kennesaw State alumni
Kennesaw State honored two of its own this Veterans Day with events on the Campus Green. President Daniel S. Papp reminded the crowd that “Kennesaw State is proud to be recognized as a military friendly school, and we want to be even more so in the future.”
The family and friends of 1st Lt. Jonathan Walsh, who was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, dedicated a red maple (Autumn Flame) on the Campus Green beside Kennesaw Hall and unveiled a plaque in his memory. Later, KSU alumnus, Army Maj. Stefan Hutnik of Marietta, delivered the keynote address.
For more on the day's events, please read the story below that appeared in The Marietta Daily Journal.
KSU ceremony honors fallen alumnus
by Lindsay Field
firstname.lastname@example.org The Marietta Daily Journal
November 09, 2012 01:22 AM
"On behalf of the university, Associate Vice President for Operations Major Gen. Maria Britt, a retired Army National Guard member, said Walsh lived the “Warrior Ethos.”
“I will always place the mission first. I will never quit. I will never accept defeat, and I will never leave behind a fallen comrade,” she said. “This tree will memorialize his spirit and forever keep his courage locked in our hearts. We are honored to call him an alum and a fellow brother in arms.”
Following the ceremony, Walsh’s mother made a statement to university spokesman Robert Godlewski.
“He was a wonderful son, and I’m going to miss him. He was a first responder and he wanted to do something in life that made a difference.”
She also told Godlewski that Walsh’s son, Austin, turns 1 on Saturday.
Shortly after Walsh’s dedication, KSU President Dan Papp welcomed the crowd of about 100 people to the school’s annual Veterans Day celebration.
“Kennesaw State is extremely proud of our veterans and of our serving military. We are also extremely proud to be designated by the U.S. Department of Defense as one of only six military-friendly institutions in the state of Georgia,” he said. “We are also extremely, extremely desirous of being even more military-friendly over the course of upcoming days, months and years.”
This year’s keynote speaker, 34-year-old Hutnik, graduated from Pope High School in 1996 and KSU’s Coles College of Business in 2000. He currently is stationed at Fort Benning near Columbus and is the son of Richard and Lynne Hutnik of Marietta.
“It’s an honor for me to be able to talk to you today. It’s great to be back on campus here at Kennesaw State. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been back here on campus, and everything has changed quite a bit, so I appreciate the opportunity and the honor you’ve bestowed on me to speak a little bit about veterans … basically bragging about my soldiers during my last deployment in Afghanistan,” he said.
Hutnik told a story about the courage his soldiers took when their vehicle was hit by a bomb while giving a tour to ranking officers in September 2010, calling it a “simple act of heroism.”
No one was killed in the incident, but Hutnik said it illustrates what makes veterans “uniquely special people.”
“They’re willing to forego their own discomfort, they’re willing to disregard the fact that they may be wounded in action with the enemy, they’re always going to look out for their friends, but even when they’re looking out for friends in a combat situation, their heart is so large that they’re willing to help out other people and always willing to go that extra effort,” he said. “May God always bless America’s veterans.”
After Hutnik’s speech, about 25 veterans in attendance took the opportunity to introduce themselves and briefly explain their military service.
Among those were Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), who was a captain in the Army and served between 1992 and 2001; Kennesaw City Councilman Tim Killingsworth, who was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corp; and Lt. Walsh’s father Paul Walsh, who said he served two tours of duty as a tank commander in the Vietnam War.
Lastly, there was a “Blessing of the Flags” ceremony, followed by a playing of taps for Walsh and the late Army First Lt. Tyler Hall Brown, a former member of the Yellow Jacket Battalion and Georgia Tech Army ROTC program who was killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom on Sept. 14, 2004.