“I was a cadet in a Naval Junior ROTC program in high school. That’s where I developed a strong passion for the military. My time as a cadet ended when I began studying cybersecurity at Towson University, but I wanted to find a way to continue my support of our military. And Towson Hillel gave me an opportunity to do that. They knew that I was passionate about our troops, so they let me organize an event for students to create handmade cards for American soldiers serving overseas.
“I also began volunteering at the United Service Organizations lounge at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, roughly 30 minutes away from campus. I volunteer about two times a week for roughly four hours. Sometimes I’m awake by 4 a.m. for shifts, and other times I’m wrapping up a shift at 2 a.m.
“Many of the military members I interact with in the lounge are either about to be deployed overseas, or they just returned from deployment. A few days ago, I spotted a man in uniform wearing a kippah. He was in the Air Force getting ready to deploy overseas after an overnight in Baltimore. We spoke about Jewish life in the military as well as the challenges the military lifestyle may bring to keeping kosher. That conversation made me feel proud and inspired. For me, my volunteer experience related to the military, whether it be on or off campus, reflects my Jewish values. It’s about connecting with people from different backgrounds and being there for them in a small but meaningful way.” — Daniel Elice, Towson University