WVU Tech Student Takes to the Road to Honor Fallen Veterans
WVU Tech student Timothy Egyud believes in the power of using one’s talents
to improve the lives of others. A CDL instructor at the
John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center
in New Cumberland, Wes
t Virginia, Egyud has 25 years of experience behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer
and uses his talents to help others launch their own careers.
Over the holiday season, he was also able to use his skills to help thousands of volunteers honor our nation’s fallen veterans through the Wreaths Across America project.
When Egyud first heard about Wreaths Across America at a conference in New Orleans, he knew he had to get involved. The initiative coordinates annual wreath-laying ceremonies at veteran’s cemeteries in all 50 states, and calls upon volunteer truck drivers to move the hundreds of thousands of wreaths to the cemeteries where they will be placed.
Egyud contacted the organization, and jumped at the chance to take on a route. In early December, he and CDL student Bruce Wildman made the 16-hour, one-way trip from northern West Virginia to Maine to pick up a truckload of wreaths. They delivered their more than 3,500 wreaths to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.
In all, the two men spent more than 40 hours transporting and delivering wreaths for the ceremony. For Egyud, there was no hesitation to give of his time.
“This is such a great way to give back for those who gave all,” he said. “These people gave everything so that we could enjoy the lives we live today. Putting in the hours to bring wreaths to the cemetery is so little compared to what these men and woman had to go through, and this is something that touches every family in the country in some way.”
At the cemetery, project volunteers enlisted help from a dozen local high school students and more than 50 veterans to unload and stage the area for the wreath-laying ceremony on Saturday, December 12, where nearly 2,000 volunteers gathered to lay the wreaths on each grave.
“Wreaths Across America’s slogan is ‘Remember. Honor. Teach.’ Having these high school students there to help out was a chance to see all three of those in action. It really lifted the spirits of the veteran volunteers to see these young people take an interest in this,” Egyud said.
Egyud found the ceremony so moving that he and his students are already fundraising for next year’s project. Those interested in donating can contact the Career Center at 304.564.3337.
When he’s not donating his time and talents to Wreaths Across America, Egyud spends his days teaching students to drive and working toward his bachelor’s degree. As a teacher who helps others continue their own education, he said it made sense to do the same for himself. He enrolled in WVU Tech’s Career Technical Education program and hopes to graduate in the fall of 2016. The program is specifically designed for teachers already employed in career and technical education fields.
“I joined the program to earn some professional development experience and I’ve received so much encouragement from my wife and from the counselors at WVU Tech that I thought I’d go for it – I’d finish my degree,” he said.
For Egyud, continuing his own education is also about leading by example.
“It’s what I tell my CDL students all the time. This is about more than just earning a license. This is the first in a long series of doors that will open to you,” he said. “It shows that you can do what you want, even if the path you planned didn’t always take you where you wanted to go. It shows that if you stick with it, you’ll meet your goals.”