By Sue Wuetcher
Published in UBNow on Nov. 16, 2016
"No returning combat veteran is ever the same person that he was when he left, and trying to get them back is not easy. It hasn’t been easy for me. And consequently, if we can help them in any way we should."—Efner "Lucky" Davis, World War II veteran and UB donor.
A World War II veteran has made a significant gift to UB to support creation of a lounge for student veterans in the Office of Veteran Services’ future home in Diefendorf Hall.
The irrevocable deferred gift by Efner "Lucky" Davis was announced on Veterans Day as part of UB’s annual celebration honoring the university’s veteran and military service members.
It is the lead gift in a fundraising campaign to create the new space for Veteran Services, which is expected to move from its current home in Allen Hall to Diefendorf in fall 2017.
The new lounge space will be named the Efner "Lucky" Davis Veterans’ Lounge.
"Basically, the only reason I gave was for the veterans," says Davis, who made the gift to the university by establishing a gift annuity.
Davis served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, specifically in Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Louzan, and took part in the occupation of Sendi, Japan, in January 1946. He served an additional four years in the reserves.
The 91-year-old veteran says he wants to do anything he can for his fellow veterans.
"No returning combat veteran is ever the same person that he was when he left, and trying to get them back is not easy," he says. "It hasn’t been easy for me, and consequently, if we can help them in any way we should."
His gift supporting the lounge is, Davis says, "mainly to allow these guys to kind of relax and fit back in."
Davis, who served as a combat medic, said he earned his nickname when, toward the end of the war, he was shot at while carrying a pack with 400 rounds of ammunition and some grenades.
"A sniper put a bullet right through the pack and nothing blew up," he recalls. "From then on, everyone called me Lucky."
The Office of Veteran Services helps student veterans adapt to life at UB by offering reliable services and a strong growing community, as well as a student lounge. The office devotes much of its efforts to helping students process paperwork from both the federal Veterans Administration and from the university to help with enrollment. Students also are connected to services that will assist with financial, interpersonal or academic challenges.
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