September 7, 2018
Eileen Reider Glenn ’69, M’99 majored in health education and played basketball and ran track at WCU at the height of the growing conflict over the Vietnam War. She remembers watching the annual draft lottery on TV. “It was very personal,” she remembers. “People literally left classes and went into the service and we never heard from them again.”
Glenn has been close to a number of people with military backgrounds, from her late husband, Terry, who served in the U.S. Army Reserves and later became a Merrill Lynch executive; to her brother-in-law, an ex-Marine; her nephew-in-law, who recently retired from the Navy SEALs as a lieutenant commander; and her mentor, the late Dick Yoder ’59, who served six years in the Marine Corps.
But it was someone she didn’t personally know whose story was the impetus for Glenn’s $1 million pledge to the University’s Greg and Sandra Weisenstein Veterans Center: Graf Eggers ’17.
For most of his four years in the Navy, Eggers was a religious program specialist at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, CA, a position in which he had arranged numerous funerals and memorial services for Marines. After he left active service, he was one of three heroes to rescue a family of five from drowning in a car accident in Delaware.
The experience later triggered post-traumatic stress disorder during Eggers’ time at WCU. He sought expert counseling at the Veteran’s Medical Center in Wilmington at the urging of a WCU graduate student in the counseling program. He and other members of the Student Veterans Group began discussing having a certified veterans counselor on staff at the University — a priority that WCU President Christopher M. Fiorentino has also strongly embraced. “I was touched by his story,” Glenn says of Eggers, who was hired recently by WCU’s Purchasing Department. “If we send people [into military service], we should support them when they come home.”
Glenn’s pledge will fund the annual salary of a licensed professional counselor dedicated to the needs of the University’s nearly 300 student veterans.
Read more about Glenn, Eggers, and the Veterans Center in the current issue of the WCU magazine.