Augie Serving Heroes: new club hopes to serve military and first responders



Despite the abundant and diverse list of student organizations and clubs available to students at Augustana, there is one club that has yet to exist—a club related to military and first responder awareness and service. Seniors Katie Jacobs and Amelia Cisar are setting out to change this.

It all started their freshman year when both Jacobs and Cisar began corresponding with veterans, looking for a way to receive letters in their mailbox and reach out to others who might enjoy the same thing. The experience gave them an appreciation for those who serve and prompted them to think about what it means to serve.

“We think it’s really important to make that personal connection, to kind of learn what it’s like to be put in these positions of putting your life on the line or serving your country,” Cisar said. “It’s trying to support people who are giving up their lives and their time and their families to fight for what we all believe in.”

The issue hits close to home for Cisar, whose high school friend passed away before fulfilling his dream of becoming a firefighter. While studying abroad in London, Cisar received a call from Jacobs, pitching the idea for a club devoted to honoring and serving former and current military members and first responders. Her immediate response: “Yes, we have to do this.”

However, the workload that comes with being full-time students involved in other clubs forced them to push off the idea, at least for a little bit. Entering their senior year, they decided to finally get the idea off the ground.

After looking into the process, Jacobs and Cisar took their new club, Augie Serving Heroes (ASH), to the activities fair in an attempt to get the club on its feet. Despite not having a space to set up a table, they managed to gather 27 signatures from prospective members. “We got more support than what we expected, honestly,” Cisar said.

Cisar and Jacobs attribute the support to the connection a lot of students have to military members and first responders, as well as their doctrine that all students are included, no matter their beliefs or opinions surrounding military action.

“Not everyone believes that military and soldiers are absolutely necessary—that’s awesome,” Jacobs said. “You can work with first responders, because fires happen, or EMS teams because medical situations happen and these things are absolutely necessary for a running society. There’s a place for anyone no matter their political affiliation or any sort of demographic, there’s a place where everyone can fit in and I think that’s important for a campus like this.”

Since the activities fair, Jacobs and Cisar have focused on organizing different events and activities they hope to host, including writing letters and sending care packages to veterans and active duty military; volunteering at local organizations such as the VA Hospital and the Disabled American Veterans Charity; and hosting events to celebrate and honor first responders.

Through these activities and volunteer opportunities, Jacobs and Cisar hope to foster a community of support for these people, as well as spread awareness about ways students can help care for the people and families who serve.

“They do so much for us, it’s kind of like your parents take care of you for your entire life and they do the best they can with what they have, and when they get older and you’re able  to fend for yourself and then all of the sudden they need your help are you just going to leave them out to dry—so that puts it in perspective kind of. You want to take care of the people taking care of you,” Cisar said.

For Jacobs, honoring those who allow us to do what we love is a big part of why the club is important. “The way I think of it, everyone’s here at Augie doing what they love, studying what they love, doing clubs and hobbies that they enjoy—we get all these opportunities to be here and do what we want to do and pursue what most people consider the American dream,” Jacobs said.

“We owe it to all of these people because this is kind of what we live for and they gave up a lot so that we can do this.”

More than anything Jacobs and Cisar want the club to be a resource for students, whether they want to learn more about what first responders do, volunteer with veterans or provide support in their community, local and abroad.

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