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Christopher Vezina

2015 A Determined Advocate

CHRISTOPHER’S STORY

Christopher Vezina fought to protect our country. A combat veteran, he served as a rifleman with the United States Marine Corps during the Global War on Terror and was embedded with the Iraqi army during his deployment in 2008. He left the Marine Corps at the rank of corporal after five years of service.

Now stateside, he spends his time helping fellow veterans acclimate to university life at UM-Dearborn. Chris meets with recent veterans and speaks at veteran orientation. He also was the catalyst for the Veterans Appreciation Night with UM-Dearborn’s hockey team.

Chris currently works for the veterans’ hospital in Ann Arbor as the coordinator of Bad Company, an adventure therapy group. The group is dedicated to creating a sense of community among combat veterans through shared activities like mountain biking, hiking, paintball and other outdoor activities.

“Chris encourages his fellow student veterans to participate with Bad Company and looks to them for programming suggestions,” said William Emerson, veterans affairs coordinator.

His passion for helping fellow veterans extends far beyond campus.

“He frequently attends veteran court sessions in an advisory capacity, where he lauds the benefits of getting outdoors with other veterans in order to overcome the struggles that result from combat-related trauma,” William said.

Chris was one of the featured speakers at the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals: Ceremony Honoring Michigan Veteran Courts. Along with Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly and Brigadier General Michael Stone, he discussed the positive impact veteran courts are having on veterans across the state.

It’s easy to see how Chris utilizes his leadership training and professionalism from the Marines to further his efforts as an emerging campus leader. And there’s no question he is a difference maker.