Education

New Fresno State fraternity founded for veterans

Sunday, February 05, 2012

More than 20 thousand students attend Fresno State University, and only a few more than 1 thousand belong to a fraternity or sorority.

Omega Delta Sigma, a newcomer, is open to both men and women with their very special bond of military service.

Fresno State is a diverse campus with students of varied backgrounds, ethnicity and interests, and most find a place to fit in.

For returning veterans still carrying the weight of war, the university scene can be challenging among those who don't realize how hard it is to leave that life behind them.

"It's easy for them to say but hard for us to do. And that's why we created this organization," veterans fraternity member Junrel Sumagang said.

The Omega Delta Sigma fraternity was founded in Florida for veterans - both men and women. There are just six chapters nationwide.

Junrel Sumagang got the ball rolling for the Fresno State chapter - the only one in California.

In the fraternity, Kathryn Hernandez found what she had during her military service.

"It's important to have a group like this just to provide support. Sometimes it's difficulty making that transition from being in the military lifestyle and having that very different mentality," Hernandez said.

What the fraternity offers is that same sense of team and safety, along with shared hopes and demons.

"As soon as we stepped in the room together there was such a sense of comfort that, 'I know these people even though this is my first time meeting them, I know who they are," member Anthony Graves said.

For Clovis native Kevin Piercy it offers much more.

He lost his brother Brian Piercy in 2010, and his extended family moved away from the Valley by the time his military service ended.

But Fresno State and Omega Delta Sigma he says gave him a new family to be at home with.

"After deployment, after seeing things that no human being should have to see, we all come back affected, but being with veterans, it's a place where you can talk freely," Kevin Piercy said.

As they did on active duty in the military, these veterans and now college students are confronting the issues they encounter and finding a path to handle what ever needs doing.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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fresno state, education, nancy osborne
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