Veteran transformed after four years of service

John Quade served for four years before coming to MU, where he is president of MSVA.

It took some burnt applesauce to show sophomore John Quade how much the Marines had changed him.

Quade was home in Springfield, Mo. after serving in the Marine Corps. He went over to his parents to make applesauce, but they had already started. His parents cooked the batch without a recipe; Quade said it did not go well.

In the Marines, Quade said he had grown accustomed to taking responsibility for everything. He lived in a world where a mistake could mean the death of a fellow Marine. In the kitchen at his parents’ house, the failure of the applesauce affected Quade because he held himself accountable.

“I couldn't make applesauce with my parents, because I couldn't handle the anxiety,” Quade said. “That took a while to change back.”

A sense of duty

Quade said a transformation began the summer before his senior year of high school. He was mulling over college choices and his future.

“I realized that I couldn't justify going off to college while there were two wars going on that my peers were fighting,” Quade said. “I felt a strong sense of duty to go do what I could. So I enlisted in the Marine Corps.”

Quade graduated high school and left for basic training in 2007. He then spent four years serving in different capacities with different battalions. He left the service four years later to pursue an education.

“At the time, I had spent the last couple years wanting to be a pediatrician,” Quade said. “Marine Corps contracts are four years at a time; it's a little difficult to put off roughly 12 years of school off four years at a time.”

After changing majors a couple of times, Quade is now studying statistics. He made the switch after taking a class taught by a Marine.

At MU, Quade keeps himself busy outside of the classroom. He works at the University Hospital on the weekends, in addition to his job at the Veterans Center. He also teaches a class to eight veterans about transitioning into civilian life.

Quade is the president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association. He said having MSVA in his life has been remarkable.

“I get to call an organization full of men and women who have stepped up and volunteered to pay any price, up to and including their lives, for people they have never met,” Quade said.

Experiences in the Marines

Quade said the Marines had a profound effect on him, and he is thankful for everything the military has taught him.

”You know, I have had some pretty incredible experiences, and I wouldn't trade a single one of them for anything,” Quade said. “I've had more power at my fingertips, more responsibility on my shoulders and more friends willing to take a bullet for me than I can tell you.”

Quade said the way in which he interacted with other Marines impacted him in a pretty big way. They were brothers and would have shed blood for anyone, Quade said.

“We fought like brothers and dogged on each other every chance we got, but things that seem to be such a big deal in the rest of country were just a joke for us,” Quade said. “Where we came from, who we prayed to and how often we had to apply sunscreen didn't matter to us, we all bled red. I miss that and really wish the rest of society would catch on.”

Transitioning to MU

When Quade left the Marines and came to MU, he said he was expecting to be surrounded by entitled children who were supported by their parents.

“I was dead wrong about the misconceptions I had when coming here, and I am honored to be on this campus with this student body,” he said.

Each year, Veterans Day recognizes those who have served. At MU, Veterans Day is expanded to a week with events from writing thank-you notes to a wreath laying ceremony. Quade said he’s humbled and inspired by Veterans Week.

“Our entire military force is participating voluntarily,” Quade said. “It would be too easy for 99.5 percent of the country who has never served to reject and rebuke us as we return to society. However, here on our campus, faculty, staff and students come together to devote an entire week to show appreciation to veterans.”

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