Vets Club members dedicated themselves to supporting and protecting civilians at home and abroad, and this is part of that promise, he added. The club has 42 members.
Gritzmacher, a Gunner’s Mate 2nd class, which is equivalent to a sergeant in other military branches, served for four years in the U.S. Navy from 2004 to 2008 with two tours in Iraq and one in Somalia.
The Wisconsin winter will be difficult for Afghanis who are used to warmer weather, making winter clothing a need for them, Gritzmacher said.
“I can remember looking back and 120 to 130 degree days and coming back home in the summer and I had to wear a coat,” said Gritzmacher, who is the comedy event director for Blue Devil Productions on campus.
Chris Engen, UW-Stout’s military education benefits coordinator, said many of the student veterans on campus experienced or were influenced in some way by Operation Enduring Freedom, the title used to refer to the United States’ response to Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and subsequent operations against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
“This donation drive provides an opportunity to support those who often worked with and alongside the U.S. and our international partners in Afghanistan,” Engen said. “Though no longer in uniform, our veterans often continue to serve their communities and our nation in other ways.”
UW-Stout was the first UW System school to offer the comprehensive peer mentorship program. It is offered through the Mentor Collective platform. Peer-to-peer mentoring is designed to help first-year students build relationships and increase retention and graduation.
The university has a Military and Veteran Resource Center, a dedicated on-campus space for veterans, service members and their families, at 305 Bowman Hall. It serves as a centralized location for veterans to meet, study, relax or participate in veteran-specific activities. Engen’s office is in Bowman Hall room 107 for benefits support.
UW-Stout was named a Best for Vets College in 2020 by the Military Times and a Military Friendly school for 2021-22 by MilitaryFriendly.com. UW-Stout also moved up 18 places to No. 30 among all Midwest universities in the Best Colleges for Veterans ranking by U.S. News and World Report.
The university has a Hall of Heroes installation at the Memorial Student Center honoring students and staff who died in military service to the U.S.
UW-Stout also is part of the Northwoods Battalion Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps with UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls.