UNCW Employee, Student Honored at Purple Heart Dinner

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

UNCW electronics specialist Julius Collins and David Buzzard ’18 were recognized for outstanding military service at the fourth annual Cape Fear Purple Heart Dinner on Aug. 12. The event, which hosted a total of 60 Purple Heart recipients, was co-chaired by UNCW’s director of military affairs, Bill Kawczynski.

“Events like the Purple Heart dinner are extremely important to recognize these service members and their families for the sacrifices they made while serving this great country,” said Kawczynski, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Marine Corps. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together and show our respect.”

For both Collins and Buzzard, the dinner was an experience they won’t soon forget.

“There must have been 200 people there,” Collins said of the event. “Vietnam was a very unpopular war, so there were no parades when we came home. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the dinner made you feel like you had accomplished something for your country.”

Sharing his experiences and listening to the stories of other veterans is something Buzzard believes is important, and the Purple Heart dinner provided him a new opportunity to do that.

“It was an amazing time. I spoke to Vietnam and Korean War veterans; I even got to talk to a handful of WWII veterans. It was incredible shaking a man’s hand who had been in the invasion of Normandy,” Buzzard said with a smile. “I plan on attending every Purple Heart dinner that I can now.”

UNCW’s Office of Military Affairs works to connect military-affiliated students, staff, their spouses and families with available resources and development opportunities. The office also encourages community engagement and participation at events like the Cape Fear Purple Heart Dinner.

“Our institution has served our military since it first opened its doors in 1947. We are proud that we have Purple Heart recipients working here, as well as attending as students,” said Kawczynski. “These individuals truly understand sacrifice and how to overcome adversity. We will never forget their service.”

-- Christina Schechtman



Julius Collins


David Buzzard '18