U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Cole Passick, a junior at the University of Northern Iowa, is an active student leader involved on campus. He has served as President of the UNI Veterans Association, President of the Model United Nations Competition team, and was selected as a lower cabinet director of military and veteran affairs for Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG). He went on to serve as the Chief Justice of the NISG Supreme Court. In addition to his leadership roles, Passick is a founding member of the University of Northern Iowa’s Mental Health Council. He saw the need on campus, and in his community to help destigmatize PTSD as well as address stigmas regarding student veterans on campus. Passick, along with his fellow UNIVA executive team has successfully planned and hosted the 2018 and 2019 Statewide PTSD Awareness Conferences. This annual conference covers issues and concerns from sexual assault to addictions and secondary traumas. Along with Passick’s involvement on campus, he is also a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Organization, and a founding member of the Cedar Valley Vets in the Park, a summer program where veterans and their families are invited to gather weekly for fellowship and food.
You never know the path someone has walked, and that is why I am involved in Cedar Valley community, breaking down mental health and Veteran stigmas. Many people suffer from PTSD and mental health issues, which are no different than a more visible issue. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Helping people through the smallest of tasks can change someone's life forever. I often get asked why I do so much for some people when I know they will never be able to repay me. I believe that if you can help someone, then you do it. There is so much hate in this world and I know a little bit of compassion will go a long way. My nominator said, “There are probably many other things that he has done, but in true Cole humility, only the ones he has supported will probably ever know.” I have never done things to be recognized; I do them because I know if you can make an impact on just one person you can change the lives of thousands. Knowing that makes all the hard work worth it.