June 27, 2008

Glendora Resident Named Citrus College ‘Man of the Year’

Anthony Graglia had gotten out of basic training on Sept. 7, 2001, just four days before the worst terrorist attack to ever take place on American soil.

The Glendora High School graduate had decided to join the Army to fund his educational ambitions. He had no idea he would be thrust into the now five-year-long war.

He was given a desk assignment in Germany for the first few years before he was deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in 2004.

After serving there for a year, he returned to his hometown of Glendora and decided that he would take the summer off and pick up his life where he left off.

After a difficult transition from war to civilian life, he has done much more than just graduate from Citrus College. The 25-year- old was recently named "Man of the Year" out of 12,000 students at the Glendora institution.

On June 18, the Glendora resident received his diploma from Citrus College. He will move on to UC Davis in the fall, where he will earn a degree in computer science and math.

But this is not the only reason this driven student was chosen on top of the rest of his peers.

"We take nominations from the faculty and what we're looking for is someone not only involved in the campus community, but also someone providing service in their community," said Dean of Students Martha McDonald, who also serves on the panel that selects both the Man and Woman of the Year.

Graglia served as the president of the Veterans Club this year and also helped with the Boots to Books program at the college, which assists in getting combat veterans into the swing of civilian life.

"I think nobody comes back the same way when they leave (to go into combat)," Graglia said.

Factors such as the time difference, isolation from family and being separated from their children is what Graglia says really affects combat veterans.

According to Bruce Solheim, Citrus College volunteer veterans coordinator and history professor, Graglia has helped many other veterans on campus and has remained humble despite all of his achievements.

Last year's Veteran's Club president, Michael Pinta, was also named "Man of the Year" for Citrus College.

"We have a couple hundred vets here and this club helps promote awareness for all veterans and veteran issues," Solheim said. "They're wonderful young guys and just took charge and learned about other vets on campus."

The main purpose of the club is to provide veterans with a social network where they can gain insight and support from other veterans and veteran supporters. There are currently about 20 members.

According to Boots to Books Professor Manuel Martinez, the first year a combat soldier returns home is the most crucial.

"He (Graglia) had a lot of good family support," Martinez said. "That's a very powerful thing to have when you return (from combat)."

Graglia took the Boots to Books class in his first semester at Citrus College.

Apart from his heavy involvement with the community on campus and being a great student academically, Graglia also lends himself to other organizations.

The computer science major helps with the information technology aspect of the Deep Roots Scholarship Fund, an organization his brother, Mike Graglia, founded in 1998 to help fund education for children in Namibia, Zambia, Guatemala and Nepal.

Graglia also helps with the website for the Foundation of Glendora Unified Schools.

"It's never been a bad idea to contribute," he said. "My whole family has been on that track. It's something we do."

He's also using his talent to expand his own business, Nsane Graphics, LLC, creating digital designs for anything from stickers, to T-shirts and Web sites.

"I'm very proud of him and this is a good example of what can happen when we get our vets support when they get back," Solheim said. "If they get the support they need, they shine. These are wonderful, gifted people who can really contribute to our society."

For more information about Nsane Graphics, LLC, visit www.nsanegraphics.com. For more information about the Deep Roots Scholarship Fund, visit www.deeproots.org. For more information about the Boots to Books Class or the Veterans Club, visit www.citruscollege.edu.

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