Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Student Veterans Organization advisor receives Patriot Award

Monday, April 29, 2019
Amanda Woods (right) gets emotional upon receiving from the Patriot Award from Michellé Lang April 24 in the Office of Military and Veteran Services
Photo by Rebecca Gangemella ~ Multimedia Editor

Military and Veteran Services officer Amanda Woods was awarded the Patriot Award on April 24 during common hour from her nominator, Michellé Lang.

Lang said she nominated Woods for the Patriot Award when Employers Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) showed up at her Army National Guard unit. They asked the soldiers if they knew anyone who was “outstanding toward guards members.” Woods said she had no idea she was nominated.

Lang hid the plaque in a side office in the Office of Military and Veteran Services before Woods returned from lunch that day. Another veteran asked to speak with her privately in her office to create a distraction when she returned. While Woods was away, students from the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) set a vase of roses and a cheesecake on the center table. Lang waited in the doorway of the side office, out of sight from Woods’ office door until Woods walked out.

“You are like the mom here, everybody knows that,” Lang said to Woods during the award presentation.

Woods was filled with emotion and gratitude upon receiving the plaque.

“Thank you for all the support that you've given me and helping me fulfill my dream of serving those who serve,” Woods said.

While anyone who is nominated gets an award, Lang said there was still a process she had to go through in nominating Woods.

“Of course you have to give details on why, you can’t just say, ‘Oh, because she’s a good person,’” Lang said. “You have to tell of three specific times of when she helped you out when it was time to relocate or things like that.”

The time that stuck out most to Lang was when Woods helped her get classes and schoolwork sorted out when she was given military orders that would keep her away from classes the first few weeks of the semester.

“She told me step-by-step what I needed to do in order to get everything done for that semester and get everything done for the Basic Leadership Course like State TA, homework, talk to professors, give her my orders so it could be confirmed that I’m not just taking two or three weeks vacation, but I’m actually doing something,” Lang said.

On top of her obligations as the Military and Veteran Services officer, Woods serves as the advisor for the SVO at Southeast. Woods called SVO “an additional network of support for our military students so that they are successful outside of the classroom.” The SVO is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit as well as a Southeast student organization.

With all she has done for veterans, Lang said it makes sense for Woods to be a large presence for the veterans on campus.

“I just really hope she realizes that she does a lot for the military community like she is the face of the SVO and the veterans,” Lang said. “If you need anything, like advice on how to get your stuff together for school, anything veteran related and even non-veteran related, you can talk to Amanda.”