A Salute to NC State’s Veterans

Veterans Appreciation

NC State paid a special tribute on Nov. 11 to veterans who work for the university.

The university thanked the veterans for their service during the annual Employee Appreciation Event, which was held at Reynolds Coliseum on Veterans Day. During the event, veterans were given NC State caps embroidered with an American flag and the words “NC State Veteran.”

“I think they were really very appreciative of the special gratitude shown to them,” said Britt Hurst, the Employee Recognition and Wellness Program manager at NC State.

We asked several of the veterans who attended the event about their decision to join the military. Here is what they said:


Gareth Washington Name: Gareth Washington
Title and department: Director of benefits, employee wellness and work life, University Human Resources
Branch of the military: Virginia Army National Guard (1980-84), Army (1984-89) and Army Reserve (1989-2001)
Why did you serve? I served because it was in my heart to do it, and I wanted to give back to the country.
George Hibbler Name: George Hibbler
Title and department: IT project manager, University Human Resources
Branch of the military: Navy, 1980-88
Why did you serve? When I went into the Navy, there were some things going on in the Middle East. I felt a patriotic duty to serve … because my father and his father served in the military.
Brenda Blackman Name: Brenda Blackman
Title and department: Telecommunications officer, Transportation
Branch of the military: Air Force, 1980-97
Why did you serve? I started my service after high school. My dad served in the military, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Paul Walker Name: Paul Walker
Title and department: Planner/scheduler, Central Utilities Plant
Branch of the military: Army (1989-93), North Carolina National Guard (1993-2011), Army Reserve (2011-current)
Why did you serve? I wanted to be part of something bigger than me. My dad served in the Marine Corps. I really didn’t want to go that route, but I wanted to do something patriotic.
Ted Spencer Name: Ted Spencer
Title and department: Extension specialist and energy engineer, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center
Branch of the military: Navy, 1999-2009
Why did you serve? I actually finished my training and received my first ship assignment four days before 9/11. Obviously, once that happened things changed in terms of reasons for serving and what I wanted to happen during my time in the service. At that point, it became a lot more about defending the country and serving the country.
Philip Mills Name: Philip Mills
Title and department: Housekeeper, Housekeeping
Branch of the military: Army, 1980-83
Why did you serve? My dad was in the military. He served in the Marines. My brother served in the Navy. We were a military family.