Spray-chalking student veteran names into SP history - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Spray-chalking student veteran names into SP history

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -- Stevens Point students honor their veteran colleagues through a project called Visions of War.

With every stroke, soldiers-turned-students become a part of history.

"I decided if I was in, there wasn't going to be any way as a person I could be in the military and do anything less than be in infantry and be over there and serve on the ground," said Iraq war veteran and UW-Stevens Point senior Chris Lyon.

Lyon served two tours overseas, leaving lingering memories of people he met in his mind's eye.

"He was the first person I ever met in Iraq who was actually happy to see us," said Lyon. "We went to his house and he had his wife bring us tea and cakes and a whole bunch of other things and we sat and watched The Matrix with them for two hours in Arabic. It was rather confusing."

Now that he's back, Lyon joins more than 500 other veterans who go to school in Stevens Point. Those students get to see their names scrawled along sidewalks for the next few weeks or at least until the rain washes the chalk away.

"It's always about honoring our veterans for the service that they provided for our country," said Mid-State Technical College faculty member Suzanne Rathe.

Volunteers from UWSP and Mid-State came together to show appreciation for those who served their country and came back to join the collegiate ranks.

"It was just a joint meeting between the two colleges and deciding what was the best way to make that pathway between the two colleges and have that joint effort," said Rathe.

Student vets said they came home to a hero's welcome -- one that extends for blocks, linking the two campuses.

"The outpouring not just of patriotism but of support of the troops has been really amazing coming home," said Lyon. "Even now, I've been out for two years and people are still thanking me."

Other Veterans Day events include a Visions of War exhibition at UWSP's Carlsten Gallery from November 11th to December 4th, with an opening reception on November 11th at 5PM. There will also be a poetry reading by poet and Iraq war veteran, Brian Turner, on November 22nd at 3PM at Mid-State. Other events include film screenings and panel discussions at each of the campuses.

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