The Armed Forces careers of two UW-Oshkosh graduates will be celebrated when the Titans host the UW-Stout football team on Saturday (Nov. 10) at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
Shawn Monroe, of Oshkosh, and Kathryn Werginz, of Waupaca, have been chosen as the 2018 Veterans of the Game and will be recognized at halftime of UW-Oshkosh’s 2 p.m. Veterans Appreciation Day contest against the Blue Devils.
Monroe graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 2006 with a geography degree and earned his international studies degree in 2007. Werginz was a four-year member of the UW-Oshkosh women’s soccer team and graduated from the university in 2009 with a criminal justice degree.
“We are excited to be able to give recognition to two of our alumni who have not only served our campus, but more importantly our nation through their military service,” said UW-Oshkosh Veterans Resource Coordinator Timber Smith.
Veterans and those currently serving in the Armed Forces will receive free admission to the football game and a pre-game tailgate party in the Zion Lutheran Church parking lot which is located across the street from J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium (450 Josslyn Street). The tailgate party, which includes an opportunity to win raffle prizes, is sponsored by Erik Hosking of State Farm Insurance.
Monroe began his military career in 1999 as a forward observer with Battery C 1st of the 120th Field Artillery battalion 32nd Infantry Brigade of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. As a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, Monroe trained to direct artillery, mortar and air support assets in support of both armor and infantry units.
In 2004, then-Sergeant Monroe volunteered to fill a vacant forward observer within a union deploying to Iraq. In the summer of the same year, Monroe was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, to train with elements of the 1st Cavalry Division as well as the 256th Infantry and 141st Field Artillery and was then deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, in September 2004. During his deployment, Monroe supported combat operations in Al-Anbar, Baghdad, and Salah-ad-Din provinces.
On Aug. 5, 2005, Monroe was wounded in action by an improvised explosive device in central Baghdad. Throughout his career, Monroe earned many personal awards, including the Purple Heart Medal and unit awards, including the meritorious unit citation.
Following his deployment, Monroe returned to UW-Oshkosh to pursue his undergraduate degrees and revive the UW-Oshkosh Student Veterans Association. After graduation, Monroe began a career assisting other veterans through their reintegration as a OIE-EEF peer counselor with the Milwaukee and Appleton Veterans Affairs facilities.
In 2009, Monroe returned to UW-Oshkosh, this time as a graduate student pursuing a degree in public administration with a focus on healthcare administration. He again was active in the Student Veterans Association, and lobbied school administrators and student governance groups to support the creation of dedicated space and a support system for veterans.
A year after returning to the university, UW-Oshkosh established a Veterans Resource Center – one of the first universities in the state to do so – and selected Monroe to be the inaugural Veteran Resource Coordinator. Since its creation, the VRC has been recognized nationally as a leader in student veteran services.
Monroe continues to be active in supporting veterans in the community, having served in leadership roles with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and as a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
He is married to Jennifer Monroe, a 2008 graduate of UW-Oshkosh.
Werginz began her military career in 2001 as a transportation specialist with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. She trained to transport troops, cargo and equipment.
In 2006, Werginz traveled to Fort Bragg, N.C, in support of the Special Operations Command group with the 1157 Transportation Company out of Oshkosh, and then was stationed in Camp Taji, Iraq, for 12 months, doing base security and convoy supply operations around the Baghdad area.
In 2012-13, Werginz was stationed at Bagram Air Base for nine months, conducting convoy security as a gunner and convoy commander.
Throughout her military career, she has earned many awards, including Army Commendation, Army Achievement and Army Reserve Achievement.
In addition to her service, Werginz was simultaneously attending UW-Oshkosh from 2001 to 2009, completing her criminal justice degree between deployments. While a student, she was a member of the UW-Oshkosh women’s soccer team in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2008. Werginz finished her career scoring 22 goals and assisting on six others for a total of 50 points.
Werginz, now Sergeant First Class with the 64th Troop Command, is the Victim Advocate Coordinator for the Wisconsin National Guard, assisting fellow soldiers who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Werginz is married to Jillian Werginz.
Written by Liz Smith, UW-Oshkosh Associate Athletics Marketing Manager