York College Hospitality students help Bailey Coach support local veterans
Local business owner John Bailey of Bailey Coach was looking for a way to step up in the community when he came up with a big idea: offer local veterans a free trip to Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day.
The first year, about 600 people – including veterans and their families – signed up to participate, filling 10 buses.
It took the help of several area organizations, including students from York College of Pennsylvania’s Hospitality Management program, to pull off.
York College senior Dana Jones was one of those volunteers.
“I loved being able to help the vets,” she says. “I went the second year because I wanted to do it again. “
‘They do a good job for us’
The long day begins with early morning donuts and drinks at the York Fairgrounds and ends with a parade of buses into the fairgrounds, surrounded by well-wishers. A local fire department hangs an American flag from two trucks, a school band provides some pomp and circumstance, and the commute includes police escorts.
During the trip, the veterans visited sites like the National World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
This year, the company sent 12 buses filled with 720 people. They added Arlington National Cemetery to the itinerary. Bailey says another trip is in the works for next year.
The volunteers the college provides are a big help.
“They do a good job for us,” Bailey says. “They’re very professional, they’re courteous and they’re reliable.”
Their tasks include parking cars, helping the veterans get into the Expo center, greeting them, serving breakfast and more.
Dedication and professionalism
“It takes a certain amount of motivation to volunteer,” says Hospitality Management professor Dr. Frederick Becker, who helps coordinate the volunteers. It’s not the only way the program and the business interact. “Bailey Coach is a great supporter of ours.”
The students’ dedication and professionalism help cement that relationship. Becker points out the students must be at the fairgrounds by 6:30 a.m.
Dana, he said, is the type of student the Hospitality Management program is proud to offer to help.
“She’s just a really good student with a positive attitude,” he says. Teachers, students and the community can rely on her.
Opportunities to help the community
For Dana’s part, the Baltimore native says it’s experiences like volunteering for the veterans’ program is what makes York College stand out. She’s outside of the classroom and in the real world seeing how her lessons can be used.
“It just gave me more experience working with people with a different type of environment than I’m used to,” she says.
That sense of community was a valuable part of her college experience, she says.
“We’re always given opportunities to go and help out the community.”