The Armed Forces careers of two University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduates will be celebrated Nov. 10 as part of veterans appreciation day activities taking place during the Titan football game versus UW-Stout.
Shawn Monroe, of Oshkosh, and Kathryn Werginz, of Waupaca, have been chosen as the 2018 Veterans of the Game. Monroe graduated from UWO in 2006 with a geography degree and earned his international studies degree in 2007. Werginz was a four-year, letter winner on the Titan women’s soccer team and graduated 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 served our nation through their military service,” said UWO Veterans Resource Coordinator Timber Smith.
Veterans and those currently serving in the Armed Forces receive free admission to the football game, a tailgate with food and refreshments and an opportunity to win raffle prizes in the Zion Lutheran Church parking lot sponsored by Erik Hosking’s 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 unit 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, Army Commendation with Oak Leaf clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Badge 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 UWO, 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 it tapped 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.
From 2003-2006, Werginz traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in support of the Special Operations Command group with the 1157 Transportation Company out of Oshkosh for 12 months. In 2006-2007, she was stationed in Camp Taji, Iraq for 12 months doing base security and convoy supply operations around the Baghdad area.
In 2012-2013, 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 Titan 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.