Edmonds Community College monument welcomes veterans

LYNNWOOD — Troy Montgomery completed two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Turkmenistan before he enrolled in Edmonds Community College to prepare for a career in mechanical engineering.

While it’s not always an easy transition from military life to school, veterans like Montgomery, 28, have found a way to support each other.

Montgomery is the president of Club Vet, a campus group founded in fall of 2008 that supports students who have served in the military.

This year, the group designed, commissioned and raised money for a monument called “From Boots to Books” to honor veterans past, present and future. The idea originated with previous Club Vet president Timm Lovitt, who graduated from EdCC and currently attends Seattle University.

A dedication ceremony held earlier this month in Brier Hall featured guest speaker Michael Reagan, a Perrinville resident and Vietnam veteran who has drawn portraits of more than 1,900 members of the armed forces who have died in recent conflicts.

Montgomery, who joined Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8870 in Lynnwood after completing his service, gave presentations to various veterans groups in the area to raise funds for the monument. About $3,000 was raised to finance the building of the monument, which will cost about $5,000 total to build. Some college employees, including the American Federation of Teachers No. 4254 in Edmonds, also donated.

Meanwhile, Club Vet continues to support veterans from all walks of life. Hossam Basha, a Fulbright exchange student from Egypt and member of the Egyptian military, was among those on hand for the ceremony.

Martin Spani, a Marine who served during the Cuban missile crisis and Vietnam, also came to support the cause. Spani has taken fire science, first aid and CPR classes at Edmonds. Spani’s VFW Post added 22 new members this year.

“It’s a great program,” Spani said after the ceremony. “It’s great to see the vets are getting some recognition from the college.”

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