Patriot Day at Seward County Community College will look a little different in 2020, with an online “Parade of Heroes” and Zoom speaker instead of fire trucks and a hamburger cookout in the campus courtyard.
The changes are secondary to the primary focus, said event committee member Ed Poley, a veteran of the U.S. Army, reserves, and former instructor and education administrator. The college’s Student Veterans Association, headed up by SCCC Dean of Technology and U.S. Navy Veteran Chris Hickman, simply wants to honor first responders and veterans.
“We can’t in good conscience plan a large-scale get-together in these times, but we can still express gratitude to those who serve,” said Poley. “That’s what we want to accomplish, with the help of the community.”
Patriot Day committee members have planned a virtual shout-out they hope will encourage the everyday heroes who make a difference. An ongoing, online campaign to share stories of “Who’s YOUR hero?” will highlight testimonials by SCCC students, team members, and the public.
“These can be as simple or as involved as people want,” said SCCC Executive Director of Marketing & PR Rachel Coleman. “We are looking for photos — this can be an old snapshot of your family veteran or first responder, and that person’s name and service — or a paragraph that names the person and how he or she is a hero.” The submissions will be compiled into an online “parade” of heroes, viewable on the college website, Facebook page, and a social media “wall” that gathers content from Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the college’s PR office.
“One of the things people enjoy most is a quick selfie-style video, where the person might give a shout-out to their favorite nurse, EMT tech, firefighter, or teacher,” said Coleman. “This year, with COVID-19 disrupting everything, we have no shortage of essential workers, first responders, and everyday heroes to celebrate.”

In addition to the social media campaign leading up to Sept. 11, Patriot Day at SCCC will include an online session with special speaker Brian Rixon, a Southwest Guidance Center therapist who is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. As a mental health care provider specializing in PTSD treatment and gambling addiction therapy, Rixon brings a down-to-earth optimism to even the thorniest situations, said Bissell.
“He is great at helping people who feel overwhelmed by all the experiences they carry with them,” she said.
Rixon’s presentation will focus on “How to be Your Own Hero,” as we move through life.
More details will be announced as the SVA group sets up live links for the presentation. Plans are also in the works for ongoing mental health support via telehealth providers, and other resources for first responders who are in the midst of the fight against COVID-19. We appreciate them, full stop,” said Hickman. “We’re hoping to see a lot of participation from students and community members in sharing their pride and gratitude for all they do.”
For more information about the #SCwallofsaints Patriot Day project, contact [email protected], or visit our Facebook page @Seward County Community College. Submissions posted on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #SCwallofsaints will be displayed on the college’s social media channels.