By Abby wargo
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College Veterans Association sponsored many events that honored the people of every era who have served our country to commemorate Veterans Day. In Underwood Lobby of the Gibson Center for the Arts, there was a StoryQuest Veterans Exhibition presented by the C.V. Starr Center for the study of the American Experience. During the event, there were displays that detailed the stories of local veterans. Jeff Mullikin’s collection of war memorabilia was center stage.
Mullikin, who works in Building and Grounds, began collecting at a young age. “I sold everything (that I had collected) at 19 and got into re-enacting…years later, I started collecting again. Best decision I ever made,” he said.
Every year on Veterans Day, he has displayed his collection for the public. It grows continuously. “I initially started out with only World War II [memorabilia], and then I expanded my collection to all wars,” Mullikin said. He has items from the Spanish-American War up to the Gulf War.
After the StoryQuest exhibition, there was a special Veterans Day dinner which was free for veterans and $10 for everyone else.
Buddy Faubler, a retired Marine said, “I came from a military family, so that’s why I joined. And patriotism. I went in in 1976 and retired in 1997, so I’ve been retired for almost 20 years now.”
Veteran and junior, Adam Ashcraft, had a slightly different experience. He joined the Air Force right out of high school and remained there for six years before starting college.
“I started out as an intel guy, and we had this beautiful thing called reach-back, so I had to fight for my deployment,” he said. “From there, I became a flyer and I flew all around the world, 30 countries in a few years. That was a pretty good experience.”
Joe Milochevsky, class of 2015, went into the military before attending college. He was a diesel mechanic for the Army before getting out in 2010. “I joined the Army because I didn’t want to go to college, and after I got into the Army, I wanted to be in college,” he said.
During his tenure, the military went through a transition period. “The atmosphere began to change when I was there; you got in trouble, they wrote you up instead of making you do push-ups or beating you up like they would in the past,” Milochevsky said.
For nearly six years he was stationed in Germany and during that time he was deployed to Iraq three times. “It was really, really inside of an oven hot [in Iraq],” he said. “And, you know, it’s a third-world country—they live in mud huts, it’s just really different… Every morning I’d sit in a guard tower and watch all the families go about their business. The men would go off to herd the sheep and goats and the women would do… everything around the household. Kids playing in trash, no electricity or plumbing, you could smell people coming.
“I can’t really put in words how different [Iraq] is. The military made me realize how much I take for granted; it’s really humbling,” he said. By the time Milochevsky finished his tour, he had a sense of patriotism and a world view that he didn’t have before. Being back in the U.S. was jarring: “There was no sense of danger here, which was hard to get used to. My first Fourth of July after coming back was rough. I wasn’t ready for it,” said Milochevsky.
After the dinner, there was also a concert in Decker Theatre with Country Current, the U.S. Navy’s country/bluegrass band at 7:30 p.m..