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MCC to Host Veterans Day Recognition Ceremony Nov. 10

[Wednesday, November 1, 2017]


Capt. Michael A. Czarnik

McHenry County College (MCC) will host a Veterans Day Recognition Ceremony beginning with patriotic music by the MCC Concert Band and Chorus at 9 a.m. in the MCC Gym in Building A. The college is located at 8900 U.S. Hwy. 14 in Crystal Lake. Community members and student veterans, along with faculty, staff and guests, will gather for the program that will include speakers, patriotic music, posting of the colors by a combined service Color Guard, and bagpipes and drum music. In addition to recognizing veterans, visitors will have an opportunity to mingle and meet other veterans at a reception following the ceremony.

The keynote speaker is Capt. Michael A. Czarnik of Woodstock. He serves as Chief of Staff for the Navy Reserves, and he is attached to the U.S. Fleet Forces Maritime Operations Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, which recently supported the Navy’s response to Hurricane Irma. He hails from Wheeling, and was a Township High School District 214 NJROTC cadet and 1988 graduate of Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

Following his commission from the Navy Reserve Officer Training program, he reported to Coronado, Calif. for Surface Warfare Officer School and in April of 1989, he reported aboard the USS Rushmore (LSD 47) as the pre-commissioning auxiliary machinery officer.  The ship was commissioned in June of 1991 and set sail for their home port of San Diego, Calif. He earned his Surface Warfare Officer qualification and deployed to the Western Pacific.  As the Combat Information Officer, he planned and executed the amphibious landings in Mogadishu, Somalia in Operation Restore Hope. He resigned from active duty in June of 1993 and immediately affiliated with the Naval Reserve. Among his numerous duty stations, he served three months as military advisor to the ambassador of the U.S. Mission to the African Union.  Capt. Czarnik supported Black Sea operations as well as Joint Task Force in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which was responsible for the removal of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi.  

Capt. Czarnik’s decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal and three Navy Achievement Medal.

In his civilian career, Capt. Czarnik is a director of network services for AT&T, Inc., where he oversees 70-plus personnel globally, providing 24/7 customer service for voice and IP managed services.  He has one son, who attends the University of Kansas, studying marketing. Capt. Czarnik is an outdoorsman and accomplished Ironman Triathlete; swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles in less than thirteen hours.

“By serving my country over the last 28 years, I have been blessed to serve the people of all races, all religions, all political parties, all ages, all opinions, all incomes and genders,” Capt. Czarnik said.  “Our Constitution is what makes this possible and there is none other like it in the world.”

MCC’s annual Veterans Day program is one of several efforts at the college to honor our country’s military veterans, said Don Curfman, instructor and advisor for the Student Veterans Association at MCC. “We also help veterans transition from the military service to college with our student organization and our Student Veterans Resource Center,” Curfman added.

In an effort to give thanks to MCC’s student veterans for serving our country, MCC’s chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) is sponsoring a snacks (individually wrapped) collection drive. Anyone can donate items such as instant soups, granola bars, fruit leather, bottled water in the red and blue bins located throughout campus.  Donations will be accepted through Nov. 10. Also, gift cards from Jewel, Walmart and gas cards are being accepted on campus in Room A210.

The events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the program. For more information, contact the MCC Veterans Day Committee at (815) 479-7635.

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