RIO GRANDE — One member of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College’s faculty is making an extra effort to thank veterans throughout history.
Sports and Exercise Studies Instructor Dr. Cory Schierberl is planning to spend his spring break at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, stopping at hundreds of thousands of graves to give thanks to the veterans laid to rest on the 624-acre grounds. He said taking the time to make this trip is something he has been hoping to do for several years.
“There are US veteran cemeteries all over the world, and some of the older graves may have not had family or friends alive to visit in a hundred years. I feel this is a way for me to show my respect for their sacrifices to our great nation,” Schierberl said.
Schierberl worked as a civilian contractor training and educating United States soldiers all over the US and overseas for almost three years. During this time, he had the opportunity to visit the gravesite of his great uncle Robert E. Schierberl (2LT) in southern Italy, where he was killed in action in WWII. Inspired by his family member’s ultimate sacrifice, Schierberl set his goal to visit each veteran at Arlington National Cemetery. He said he hopes to make trips like this to honor veterans, both nationally and internationally, an integral part of his life.
“My family has a strong military background. While I chose to go into academics later in my career, I did get to spend over two years working as a civilian contractor with the United States Army, serving as the lead instructor for the Master Fitness Trainer Program,” Schierberl said. “While in Europe training our nation’s finest, I went to see my great uncle’s grave and thought about how long it had probably been since someone had visited him. Then I began to wonder how long it had been since some of the soldiers in Arlington had a visitor stop to thank them for their sacrifice.”
Schierberl will be paying for all travel and lodging expenses for his trip himself or with donations from his family. He said one other way he is supporting veterans at a local level is through encouraging others to support the Rio Veteran Fund.
“It’s so important for communities to honor veterans, and I think it’s great that Rio takes the initiative to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice for our country,” Schierberl said. “I’m also grateful for the support my colleagues, students, friends and family have shown toward raising money for the Rio Veterans Fund.”
The Rio Veterans Fund supports the Jim Marshall Veterans Award, the Honor Our Veterans Night Banquet and other events recognizing veterans. For more information on Dr. Schierberl’s endeavor, or to support the Rio Veterans Fund, visit info.rio.edu/thank-you.