Mercyhurst Veterans Association gives those who served their country an avenue to serve the local Erie community.
The Mercyhurst Veterans Association (MVA) is a student-run club that offers veterans, who are also Mercyhurst University students, support needed for that transition.
The association chooses an organization to work with every year. This year, the MVA partnered with Boots on the Ground, which helps veterans affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and their families.
This past Saturday, the MVA had its annual Teddy Bear Toss at the Mercyhurst University men’s hockey game against Army. The money raised went to Boots on the Ground while the teddy bears went to Toys for Tots. Another Teddy Bear Toss is planned for December at a Mercyhurst women’s hockey game.
In the past, MVA has hosted off-campus picnics for veterans and their families. On Sept. 11, the club had a flag ceremony in remembrance of the terrorist attacks.
Corey Sayles, MVA’s vice president, became involved with the club right after his first meeting.
“Hearing what the MVA stood for in addition to the possible missions it could accomplish, I immediately wanted to get involved,” Sayles said.
Before attending Mercyhurst, Sayles served in the U.S. Navy during Operation Enduring Freedom, the American military campaign in Afghanistan.
Sayles is also involved in other service organization, such as the Soldiers and Sailors Home. Although he has not volunteered there yet, he did attend the orientation process to become a volunteer.
“I’m the only vet who has completed the process. So for the future, I hope to get more vets to volunteer their time to help fellow vets,” Sayles said.
He also works with the Food Recovery Network, a group that collects left over food from campus and the community, and then donates it to the local soup kitchen and City Mission. Sayles said future food recoveries will be donated to the Liberty House and a homeless shelter for veterans.
However, the MVA is still an important organization to Mercyhurst veterans and to Sayles.
“The MVA hopes to continue building a positive recognition on campus and extend it out into the community,” Sayles said.