University of Houston’s most important tradition, Frontier Fiesta, honored the veterans on campus for the first time in years on Saturday.
Family Fun Day included the Joe Koppel Military Appreciation Ceremony and a cook-off awards presentation that attracted many people.
“There was a history of veterans being honored in Frontier Fiesta before,” said Program Director for Veterans’ Services Office Allen Grundy.
“So when we had our new committee and some WWII veterans that went here to UH wanted to bring it back got us excited.”
The Veterans Services on campus conveyed their support and work by displaying a great ceremony that attracted a lot of people.
“We do recruiting, retain and graduate veterans — it’s a million dollar product, because all the money goes to school,” Grundy said.
Chairman of Houston Military Affairs Committee Gene Tulich also spoke during the ceremony.
“I’m involved in most of the veterans events going on, one of the big things coming up shortly in April is an Iraq veterans parade,” Tulich said.
On April 7 there will be a parade going through Minute Maid Park.
“We are preparing for the reduction in the arms forces in the next couple of budget years,” Tulich said.
“So you will see more and more people coming to UH as their services end, and getting that extra education is going to be vital.”
Tulich asked students to treat the arriving veterans as long lost brethren, take care of them and bring them into their hearts, because they have certainly given their own hearts for this country.
According to Allen Grundy, having so many veterans on the campus can be a good thing.
“It can do two things: It can grow the population of UH and it can bring in great funding,” Grundy said.
Former students also came out to enjoy the day and support the veterans.
“I’ve been coming here every year even after graduation. (I) just like to see different shows and be around UH … and have a little sun,” said UH alumna Amariee Collins.
“They did veterans ceremony and I wanted to make sure I came to that.”
The cook-off awards also brought many people together for a good cause.
The ceremony started off with the People’s Choice Awards for chili, beans and barbecue followed by baking.
Chris Sams’ recipe won second place for People’s Choice Chili.
“This is my third year. I won third-place chili two years ago,” Sams said.
“I like winning People’s Choice Award because it’s a public award.”