Easing the Path to Service 

Jay Day, Eastern’s chief of police, is honored for supporting Guard and Reserve members.

As a kid growing up in Blytheville, Arkansas — a small town about an hour upriver from Memphis, Tennessee — and later in Tacoma, Washington, EWU Police Chief Jay Day was always proud to embrace the values he learned from his dad, a service member in the U.S. Army.

“My foundation is discipline and integrity,” Day says. “My dad raised us like little soldiers and instilled all those principles, which have served me well in my law enforcement career.”

As the head of EWU’s police department, Day ’95 has continued to honor those who serve, including the Eastern officers who divide their time between police work and periodic deployments in the Armed Forces Guard and Reserve. In recognition of this support, Day recently received the U.S. Armed Forces Guard and Reserve Employer Patriot Award, an honor reflecting the commitment he has shown toward easing the path to service for his employees.

The award was announced at the EWU Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 24 by Dave Millet, director of the Veterans Resource Center at EWU. Day, who is also an Eastern alumnus, was nominated by Deputy Chief Sean O’Laughlin, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

“It was a complete shock and surprise, I wasn’t expecting it but it was probably one of the top honors of my life, I should say, having grown up military,” Day says.

Military service was originally going to be his own career path, Day recalls. But at Eastern he chose the route of law enforcement. “Law enforcement mirrors the military in a lot of ways,” he says. “It’s selfless service, there are a lot of sacrifices that not only yourself but your family makes in service of others.”

“I’m very appreciative of our troops and the tremendous sacrifices that they give every day in support of our country,” Day adds. “My debt of gratitude to them is immeasurable.”