The greater Manhattan (Kansas) community includes the U.S. Army installation of Fort Riley which was seen a dramatic growth of military families, Department of Defense staff and active duty soldiers in the past eight years.  With this growth, a greater number of veterans (and their families) are seeking higher education degrees or careers in higher education.  With this increase in student veterans more veteran student groups eagerly sought volunteer and service opportunities to help other military families. The needs for active duty military and veterans continues to grow with the recent completion of the Warrior Transition Battalion for wounded soldiers and USO facilities.

Because veterans are wanting to give back as citizen leaders, and the need to continued support for military families, HOKS’ 2011 September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance will be a 2-day event focusing on veterans helping veterans.   Live.Serve.Celebrate. REMEMBER will be hosted by HandsOn Kansas State (HOKS) and the K-State Student Union Program Council (UPC) in collaboration with The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit whose mission is “to build an America where every returning veteran can serve again as a citizen leader….”  On Saturday, September 10, 2011, 150-200 active duty military, veterans and volunteers will be assisting 16-20 military family households and community organizations in honor of those who served and are serving their country.  Along with this community-wide service, a written and audio archive of memories and reflection from military and civilian experiences since 9/11 will be captured and shared for public viewing and listening.  In celebration of shared unity and service appreciation, volunteers, military families and the general public will be treated to food, music and entertainment in coordination with a local business association to complete the day.

UPC will commemorate the losses that occurred on September 11, 2001 on the 10th Anniversary beginning with the ringing of the university bells at the times when the Twin Towers and Pentagon were attacked and when Flight 93 crashed.  The written and audio memories will be displayed along with over 3000 American and international flags, placed in honor of those fallen during 9/11.  Local serviceman, 1st Responders and their families will be honored with special presentations from the university and Fort Riley representatives.  There will be approximately 30-45 volunteers from veteran student groups, ROTC and local recruiting stations of the Army, Navy and National Guard to present colors, display pictures of their fallen since 9/11 and escort family members.  Later in the day, there will be two documentaries shown which will encourage public discussion and sharing regarding women , war and peace (Peace Unveiled) and oil dependency (Houston We Have a Problem) .

Organizations who will be involved in this 2-day event will be; HandsOn Kansas State, K-State Student Union Program Council, Kansas Army National Guard – Family Support Groups, Warrior Transition Battalion (Fort Riley, KS), local chapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Recruiting Station personnel (Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force), Student Veterans Association (KSU), Office of Non-Traditional and Veterans (KSU), and the Aggieville Business Association.   

We expect 250 volunteers to participate in this first commemorative event.  They will be expected to assist in the planning and implementation of the 2-day event, provide household, yard and home improvement tasks for military families of deployed family members, complete service projects for community organizations in honor of the fallen, promote The Mission Continues program activities and reflect on how 9/11 has affected them in the past 10 years.

HOKS is a volunteer/action center whose mission is to promote civic learning and leadership through volunteer and service activities. This four year old program of Kansas State University’s (KSU) School of Leadership Studies has mobilized campus and community groups of 10-650 volunteers in small and community-wide service projects.  This unique student-led program serves not only the campus but the community and has managed annual service events such as Make A Difference, Family Volunteer Day, neighborhood beautification, Kansas Day Commemoration, Global Youth Service Day and National Volunteer Week.   These service projects have built better neighborhood relations, mentored military children and supported their families, reduced solid waste in landfills, promoted sustainable resources, increased volunteer opportunities for youth and families, promoted community financial literacy, prepared for disasters, assisted disabled citizens with home and yard maintenance and helped homeowners during increment weather.  HOKS has an extensive process of registering volunteers through a web-based data-base (HandsOn Connect) and on site with the use of trained volunteer leaders who implement and manage small group service projects.   

The creation of a unified logo will be shared with community partners to promote the Day of Service and Day of Remembrance.  Display ads in the campus and local newspapers will be purchased, banners displayed on and off campus, personal stories will be shared either as a feature article or letter to the editor.   The Chamber of Commerce will highlight the event in their Visitors and Conference activities along with news releases and public service announcements will be distributed. Also as part of Kansas 150th birthday a special 3-D display will be placed in the only local Mall which will focus on community unity during historic times of disaster in Manhattan, KS with highlights on 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance activities.