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DeSales Veterans Day Ceremony Honors Heroes Past and Present

by Paige Dormann Nov 10, 2023

An earnest spirit of gratitude and unity permeated the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts at this year’s Veterans Day ceremony.

Against the patriotic backdrop of a velvet red curtain and flags, community members enjoyed performances by The Southern Lehigh High School Band and the DeSales Chorale, as well as various presentations and remarks.

“What does it mean to me to stand amongst those who have given so much to our country? A lot,” said Linda Zerbe, vice president for student life, after discussing her family’s history of service. “Father Greenfield had a vision when he created our strategic plan with our leadership team. The vision was to make our campus the premier campus for veterans and military services. I think we’re well on our way.”

Keynote speaker Benjamin Busch, Marine Corps veteran, relayed his experiences—from being moved by the only service story his grandfather ever shared to what it’s like to become a civilian again after returning home from the military.

Benjamin Busch speaking at podium at Veterans Day ceremony

“There are around 18 million veterans living in America today. There’s a certain solitude for a veteran in returning home. I don’t mean that we are lonely or alone. But we’re a part of something else separate from our families and friends. We’ve been taught to always be alert to a threat. … We go out into a strange world we once knew and now we know it differently.”

 Benjamin Busch, Marine Corps veteran

Busch studied studio art before serving 16 years as a United States Marine Corps infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer. He deployed for two combat tours in Iraq, earning the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. In addition to speaking at the ceremony, Busch met with several classes across campus, even talking with Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and publishing students about his memoir, “Dust to Dust.”

The ceremony also featured an appearance by The Lehigh Valley Sea Cadets. The organization honored the local Gold Star Family of Marine Corporal Joshua B. Smith with the presentation of a flag that had been flown over Washington, D.C. Another highlight was the announcement of scholarship winners including that of the first-ever DeSales University Veterans Scholarship.

Congratulations to the following recipients:

DeSales University Veterans Scholarship

  • William Bissland D’26, doctor of physical therapy, Army veteran, Army National Guard.

Andrew Budraitis Foundation Veterans Scholarship

  • Daniel Muehlemann M’25, Master of Science in physician assistant studies, Army veteran.

Steel Battalion Army ROTC Scholarships

  • Allison Hoff ’23, M’25, Master of Arts in criminal justice, cadet.
  • Nathan C. Hugaboom ’27, medical studies, cadet.
  • Joseph Tran Nguyen ’27, medical studies, cadet.
  • Joseph Bushner ’26, computer science, cadet.
  • Valery Malabett ’25, criminal justice, law, cadet.