Honoring K-State veterans

K-State Alumni Communications
Jim Goins (center) attends a ceremony in honor of his late son, 2nd Lt. Michael Goins, who was killed in Iraq in 2003. The city of Green Forest, Arkansas, honored the late soldier by renaming a street Lt. Michael Goins Avenue. (Photo: David Bell)

In observance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the K-State Alumni Association recognizes the thousands of K-State alumni and friends who have served in the armed forces. Reflecting on the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, the Alumni Association would like to share the stories of three alumni whose service spans multiple conflicts and generations.

For Max Krey, Grand Junction, Colorado, K-State provided a springboard to a career following military service in World War II. Krey, who grew up on a farm in Zenith, Kansas, came to K-State in fall 1940 but left in May 1942 when he was deployed to Europe with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Four years later, Krey returned to the U.S. and re-enrolled at K-State in fall 1946 on the GI Bill. He graduated in spring 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in geology. His career has since taken him through the oil and gas industry in Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado, where he lives with his wife, Helen, and serves as president of MAK Energy Inc.

Krey, who at age 92 still goes to the office, said K-State provided him with the opportunity not only to earn an education also but to create lifelong memories.

“I probably never would’ve have moved to Colorado without my degree from K-State — I would’ve stayed on the farm,” Krey said. “I still keep in contact with a few [Sigma Phi Epsilon] fraternity brothers and people from the geology department. It’s been a wonderful life and I appreciate K-State for all they did — all the friendships, the associations that last a lifetime. K-State made a big difference in my life.”

Building on the university’s commitment to honoring veterans, the U.S. Department of Defense selected K-State to serve as a national commemorative partner for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, which will be commemorated with events from 2015-2017.

Max Krey served in World War II and graduated from K-State in 1949 on the GI bill. (Photo: Royal Purple yearbook, 1949)

Tying in with the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, as part of a class project at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, students were assigned names of veterans on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., and tasked with researching their lives to create personalized memorials. 

Brenda Chiang, a senior at Westlake, discovered a K-State connection while researching her veteran — Lt. William “Bill” Reynolds. Reynolds, a native of Winfield, Kansas, attended K-State from 1964 to 1969, participated in U.S. Army ROTC and was a member of the gymnastics team. He was killed in action May 28, 1970. Chiang’s video tribute to Reynolds is available online here

Lt. William "Bill" Reynolds attended K-State from 1964 to 1969. (Photo: Royal Purple yearbook, 1968)

On Aug. 15, on the 10th anniversary of his death, 2nd Lt. Michael Goins was honored by his hometown, Green Forest, Arkansas, when the city renamed South Arch Street to Lt. Michael Goins Avenue. In 2004, Goins was killed in action while serving as a tank platoon leader in Iraq during the ongoing global war on terrorism.

Retired Lt. Col Art DeGroat, K-State’s executive director of military and veterans affairs, commissioned Goins in 2003 and represented K-State and Army ROTC at the event.

“I have never met a better human being, soldier and man as Michael Goins,” DeGroat said. “His tragic and heroic death in service to his fellow soldiers, family and country is a testament to the greatness of this man during his short life on earth.”

K-State Alumni Association
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