ADA – Brian Paul, president and founder of Veterans 4 Life USA, will be the keynote speaker as East Central University and Veterans Upward Bound will host its annual Veterans and Military Appreciation Day on Thursday, May 16, in ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

All veterans and current military members, along with their families, are invited to this free event, which begins with vendor tables at 9 a.m., followed by the main program at 10 a.m. A free lunch will also be served to attendees.

In his current role with Veterans 4 Life USA, Paul works to connect veterans and first responders to partnering treatment organizations to help with post-traumatic stress and addiction issues.

Not only will Paul share his story, but special presentations will be made. A monetary award from Gateway Mortgage will be made to the Folds of Honor Foundation. The recipient of the Bret D. Isenhower Scholarship will also be announced.

Paul launched his life of service at the U.S. Army’s Infantry Training Center at Ft. Benning, Ga., where he completed his basic training as well as advanced individual training as a member of the 45th Infantry Division. Paul later returned from Army Paratrooper training at the post “Jump School.”

He first served as mortar man, machine gunner and rifle platoon leader while also attending the University of Central Oklahoma’s ROTC program. He deployed with the 45th to the April 19, 1995 Murray Building bombing in Oklahoma City, before finishing his military obligation.

After moving to the Kansas City area, Paul became a fulltime EMT as well as a volunteer firefighter with the Smithville Area Fire Protections District. He then became a fulltime (career) firefighter for the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, a district that responds to approximately 7,000 calls per year. Paul also served as an EMS testing evaluator for the Missouri Emergency Medical Services Association.

For more information on Veterans and Military Appreciation Day, contact Veterans Upward Bound Director Mary Meeks at 580-559-5541 or at mmeeks@ecok.edu.