Grayson College welcomed veterans to campus Tuesday for a free expo and career fair. The college’s Department of Veteran Services hosted the event in conjunction with the Texas Veterans Commission to connect veterans and their families with resources, services and products.

Retired U.S. Navy Admiral William Retz welcomed attendees to the expo and emphasized the necessity of veterans using the available benefits and services offered to them. He believes if the benefits are not taken advantage of, the government might not see them as necessary.

“We are fortunate in a way to live in a country that today recognizes our veterans and the sacrifice that you’ve all made during your time in active duty,” Retz said. “Because of that, those who are no longer in active duty need to take advantage of that. There are so many opportunities for you to do that and to help yourself and to help others.”

Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said the college is dedicated to providing students with the tools necessary to achieve their goals. He explained veterans are an important part of the community and the college.

“At Grayson College our strategic planning goals are to connect students with their careers,” McMillen said. “To have them commit to their studies in a way that is move-able so they can build momentum to their success — that they actually complete what they start. So, connect, commit and complete. I believe what we’re doing today really helps us to do that connection.”

Previously held in the college’s Life Center, the event was moved to the gymnasium to accommodate over 50 exhibitors. The opening ceremonies began with the Sherman VFW Post 2772 Flag Team posting colors accompanied by the Honor Pipes of Kelly McGill and Rob Ballew performing military hymns on bagpipes.

Some of the vendors present at the expo work to simplify the application process for services and benefits to make them more accessible to veterans. McMillen explained Grayson College is dedicated to helping provide veterans with opportunities and to making them feel welcomed.

“Being able to have an opportunity for people to connect with services that are available and to do that at our campus makes them understand that we are a place that’s here and ready to help them,” McMillen said. “Today’s an opportunity for them to connect with their health care benefits and other things. It’s an important thing for those who have served our nation to be able to give them that opportunity.”

In addition to a variety of vendors, the event featured a military vehicle display and the Iraq-Afghanistan traveling memorial wall. Created by a North Texas American Legion member, the wall contains images and names of all of the Texas soldiers who have been killed in the Global War on Terrorism. The wall serves to honor the sacrifices of military members in the most recent conflict.