The Grand Junction Air Show that ran from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 had help from the Student Veterans Association at Colorado Mesa University. The SVA seeks opportunities to participate in community events and provided volunteers to work at the event which dates back to 1912 when the first airshow took place in Grand Junction.

While the airshow is over 100 years old, this is the first year that the SVA has participated. The new relationship began from an interaction between a teacher and his former high school student.

“It was the first time we worked with the air show, and we were able to do that because Rick Peterson, who was my high school teacher at Central High School is part of the Aviation Club,” SVA President Braydon Gear said. “I met up with him during a function in the summer for teachers and I told him what I was doing and I told him about the SVA, and he said that he would love our help with the air show.”

Gear wanted to include the SVA in the tradition of the airshow and recruited fellow student veterans to participate.

“CMU has over 400 veterans attending. Grand Junction is a very veteran-friendly community. The school is very pro-veteran,” Gear said. “It is important that veterans keep up good relations with the community, and that is why we like doing these events. We like helping out.”

Six members of the SVA volunteered to help out with the airshow. The student veterans were put to work selling beer in three locations at the venue.

“It worked well,” Gear said. “We all just went to work and sold some beer.”

Gear hopes to continue the partnership in the future. While the ultimate goal of the SVA is to get veterans returning from active duty into school and give them the resources they need to be successful in the classroom and the workforce, community involvement remains a priority.

“The community does a lot for veterans, so we like to show our appreciation and give back to the community the best that we can,” Gear said.

If the SVA has its way, it will continue working with the Grand Junction Air Show for years to come.

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Chris DeLeon
Chris DeLeon is The Criterion's news editor for the 2017/2018 academic year and a certified personal trainer and military veteran. He is in his second year at CMU, working towards a bachelor of science degree in exercise science before going towards a doctorate in physical therapy. Chris began writing seven years ago but recently brought his love of the written word to journalism.

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