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Courtney to Speak at Eastern's Veterans Day Challenge

Written by Emily Bonoyer

Veterans Day -Murphy.JPG

Lieutenant Michael Murphy

Willimantic, CT -- Congressman Joseph Courtney (D - Second District) will be the keynote speaker when Eastern Connecticut State University observes Veterans Day on Nov. 11. The public is invited. Admission is free. The ceremony starts at 9 a.m. and will take place on the Wood Support Services Lawn.

            "I honor and thank Connecticut's veterans and their families for their continued service to our country," said Courtney. "For many veterans, their commitment to public service continues long after their military service requirements are completed, which serves as testimony to their special sense of leadership and dedication to strengthening our local communities. And for their devotion to our nation, I will continue to fight for the benefits and resources they need and have earned. I applaud Eastern for creating a Veterans' Center, which provides targeted assistance to troops and veterans who have enrolled at the university."  

As a part of the day's events, Eastern's Veterans Center will conduct the "Veterans Day Challenge." The challenge is the same workout that Lieutenant Michael Murphy, United States Navy (SEAL), of Patchogue, NY, did while he was deployed in Afghanistan. On June 28, 2005, Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission. Murphy called his workout "Body Armor" because he wore body armor weighing approximately 20 pounds during the entire workout.

            The challenge is part of the University's Dean's Cup competition among residence halls, an academic-and service-related event that promotes spirit and collaboration among students living in the residence halls on campus.  All proceeds raised from this event will benefit the Eastern Veteran's Scholarship Fund.

            The challenge is a team event comprised of two dominant workouts involving nothing more than each competitor's own body weight, and is designed to test the mind and the body. The team that completes the "Body Armor Regimen" in the fastest total time will receive a prize and bragging rights. "I feel that the event should be a positive reminder about how our veterans have served our country, and how we can continue to give back to the community at large," said Caleb Diebolt '10, sociology major at Eastern. "It is also very encouraging for the community to donate for our veterans' scholarship."

            Courtney was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006. He serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and House Armed Services Committee. On the Armed Services Committee, Courtney serves on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces and the Military Readiness Subcommittees. He is also the first Congressman from the Second Congressional District to sit on the House Education and Labor Committee since the World War II era, which is notable, given that eastern Connecticut is proudly known as the "higher education district" of Connecticut. Since his swearing in, Courtney has distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for both the nation's veterans and men and women in uniform. In early 2008, in recognition of his efforts, Courtney was awarded the Connecticut National Guard's highest honor, the Meritorious Service Award.

The ceremony is hosted by the University's Division of Student Affairs and the Veterans Education and Transition Services Center. Persons interested in participating in the Veterans Day Challenge, should contact Caleb Diebolt at (860) 465-0401 or E-mail


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