Dordt College News

Dordt College Students called to serve in armed forces

February 11, 2003

The threat of war in Iraq is being felt on the local level.

At Dordt College, one student was called to duty in August and another will join his unit for active duty on Friday, Feb. 7.

Ryan Loomans had sophomore status at Dordt College when he received his orders from the Army Reserve to report for one year of service. His year of service may be extended for a second year. The son of Ross and Donna Loomans, Rock Rapids, Ryan has spent time with both a transport group and a material handling division, and has worked and received training on bases in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Wisconsin. He is currently helping units deploy. Josh Van Schouwen

Josh Van Schouwen, the son of Joe and Shar Van Schouwen, Sioux Center, received his call on Tuesday to report for duty on Friday, Feb. 7. Josh joined the Army Reserve Nov. 20, 2000, and has been training with the 323rd Chemical Unit at Sioux Falls as a chemical weapons specialist. He is trained in the life-saving task of decontaminating troops, vehicles and civilians.

“My boredom is everyone else’s happiness,” said Van Schouwen, who hopes our troops will never be called to use their expertise in dealing with nerve agents, etc. Van Schouwen was notified he will be serving six months, but that may be extended to a full year.

“ I’m still in shock, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Josh when asked how he felt about his upcoming service. But he is proud to carry on the tradition of service to his country, begun by both grandfathers serving in World War II, an uncle serving in Viet Nam, another in the U.S. Air Force and his dad in the National Guard.

Van Schouwen is a computer science and systems administration major at Dordt College with junior status. Since the spring semester has just begun, college faculty and officials are working with Josh to assist in dealing with this detour from a college degree.

Two other Dordt students, Matt Behrens, Rock Rapids, and Nate Snieder, Orange City, may also face activation orders in upcoming weeks if the threat of war persists.

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