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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
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Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

Inspiration: Purple Heart recipient’s story helps freshman seminar classes decide on Academic Service Learning project

Two Freshman Seminar (UN 100) classes are collecting letters and items to put in care packages for troops overseas, a project that was inspired by a Purple Heart recipient.

Ben Fladung served four years with the U.S. Marines and spent 2004-05 in Iraq. After his service, he left the military and returned to the Upper Peninsula, where he worked at a mine before enrolling in the nursing program at NMU.

Faith Edwards, a nursing professor, had Fladung in one of her UN 100 classes and after hearing his story about his time in the Marines she knew she could use his experience to help emphasize the importance of empathy in the classroom.

“It wasn’t until the following year that I realized Ben received a Purple Heart,” Edwards said. “I was so intrigued with his story that I wanted to know more.”

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Since then, Fladung has shared his experience overseas with Edwards’ UN 100 classes.

“Faith thought that it would be a good idea if I shared my experiences with the two seminar classes in order to give them a better idea of what it is like over seas, versus what you hear in the news,” Fladung said.

He was wounded while on a mission led by the United States to take control of the city Fallujah. While Fladung was driving a truck as part of a resupplying mission at night, a vehicle ahead of him struck a mound of dirt that wasn’t seen by the night-vision gear and overturned. When the convoy stopped, insurgents waiting in the dark began shooting. A improvised explosive device (IED) went off and knocked Fladung unconscious.

“[People] can do a lot for [troops] just by sending a card saying happy holidays because everyone over there might not have a strong family support or receive mail,” Fladung said. “Getting a card or letter could make their week.”

Fladung once received a poster made by a class with a Christmas tree on it and it was signed by all of them with greetings and “Happy Holidays,” he said.

“It was nice to get that and see the support from people back home,” Fladung said.

According to Edwards, the service-learning project holds more significance after the students have heard Fladung’s story. A big part of the nursing curriculum at NMU is service and Edwards’ UN 100 sections are designated as Academic Service Learning (ASL) courses, Edwards said, so the choice for the ASL project was a good choice for this time of stress for our country.

“Ben and I have been working on an article about nursing and military,” Edwards said. “I have watched and interviewed military personnel come home with injuries and still say ‘I would go back to defend freedom and our great country.’ Their service is the ultimate service project.”

The cards and care packages will be delivered to Sherry Nutt from Gwinn, who has been sending gifts to troops since 1991. To donate contact Faith Edwards at (906) 227-2864 or email [email protected].

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