Honoring our veterans with Capt. McDaniel

On Friday, Nov. 11, the country acknowledged our men and women who have served and are serving in the United States Armed Forces.

The program, which was a senior project for Hunter Kahler ’17, celebrated our veterans within our community.

“It’s important to recognize the influence we have here in Norfolk and the military presence we have in our school,” said Hunter. “I’ve watched this program since I was in the lower school. I’ve always wanted to do it because I have veterans in my family.”

Capt. Rich McDaniel, executive officer of Naval Station Norfolk, delivered the keynote address about honor, gratitude and service.

“The freedoms that we all enjoy are a safeguard for our veterans. They spend some of the best years of their life in-service to our country to protect some of the freedoms we enjoy,” said McDaniel,  parent of Emily and Joey McDaniel '20.

Throughout McDaniel's 23-year tenure in the Navy, he has served aboard the USS Sterett and deployed with the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group. His time at sea includes service on five U.S. Navy combatants and two afloat staffs, as well as multiple deployments to the Arabian Gulf, Western Pacific, Eastern Pacific, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Caribbean. 

McDaniel was thrilled to share his experience with our students and happy to paint a vivid picture of service in the armed forces.

“It’s important to make people aware that freedom isn’t free. It comes with a cost of sacrifice and service,” said McDaniel. “I really appreciate the fact that our nation honors veterans, and that Norfolk Collegiate also takes time to have a ceremony.”

McDaniel also has been awarded several awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal.