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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One generation to the next

Former+Muster+Committee+chair+Leannah+Thurman%2C+Class+of+1985.
Photo by Courtesy of Rick Thurman

Former Muster Committee chair Leannah Thurman, Class of 1985.

Industrial distribution senior Luke Thurman is serving as this year’s Muster Committee chair and, with his team, has been preparing to honor fallen Aggies this Thursday at Reed Arena.
Thirty-seven years after his mother Leannah Thurman, Class of 1985, Luke is serving as Muster Committee chair. Leannah said seeing Luke as Muster Committee chair years after her makes her a proud mother.
“I’m proud of him in general for persevering through all he’s gone through,” Leannah said. “Getting to this point with the Corps [of Cadets] and academics and keeping it all together, he’s done a great job with that. Just the fact that he wanted to become a part of [Muster] made me feel proud. When he told us that he was applying for Muster Committee back his freshman year, I told him, ‘I was Muster chair when I was a senior, and I would love it if you continue on the committee, whether you get to be a chairman or not.’”
Luke said he realized how special Muster was and he wanted to be part of the ceremony after a senior in his outfit, who was part of the Muster Committee, encouraged him to apply his freshman year.
“I really wanted to be a part of it to be able to give back to the university that, even just in one year, had given me so much,” Luke said. “I applied for Muster Committee not really thinking about my chances, given that I was only a sophomore, but they gave me a spot on the committee and ever since that, I’ve come back every single year … with the same mindset and attitude of wanting to give back to the university that’s given me so much and give back to those families that have gone through so much.”
Luke said, as committee chair, he serves as the representative and liaison to most of Muster’s outside partners, including the Association of Former Students, the president’s office, people outside the university and acts as the figure head of the committee, working with them on projects and tasks.
“Our first committee meeting, to Muster itself, is [over] a 205-day span,” Luke said. “We work fall and spring to get ready for this ceremony. There’s a lot of stuff we’d like to try and get done ahead of time because, as you might imagine, April is our crunch time. This week, we’re going on all cylinders. When getting an event together that involves getting over 10,000 [people], you want to make sure you get it right.”
The best part of being on the Muster Committee is seeing the event come together after a year of planning and preparing, Luke said.
“Thirty students, including myself, work toward a common goal of making Muster the best it can be to honor the families who have loved ones on the roll call,” Luke said. “Seeing how passionate people are about it, how they come from all different walks of life and backgrounds, all with one common goal in mind working together, it’s always really fascinating and impactful to me and to see it all come to fruition on April 21.”
As a former Muster chair, Leannah said Muster is important to her family because of the unifying and soul-satisfying experience it provides.
“Just the tradition itself really pushes on that whole community aspect because it doesn’t matter where you are, how old you are, how young you are. If you’re part of the Aggie family, Muster is a part of your life, and that is a very unifying feeling,” Leannah said. “I’ve had quite a few events in my life since then, but that community is probably what I would have to go back to and tie everything together with. Just the fact that I was a small piece of the puzzle that put Muster on, and all of us working together in that with that common goal of getting Muster put on for the families that were represented on the roll call that year was unifying, very soul-satisfying.”
Leannah said she has enjoyed seeing Luke follow his family’s footsteps — serving as Muster chair and studying industrial distribution like his mother, and wearing his father’s, Class of 1984, senior boots.
Luke’s father Rick Thurman, Class of 1984, said Luke serving as Muster chair not only allows him to have an effect on the university but on everyone involved in the Muster ceremony.
“He has had an opportunity not only to have that impact, but to be in a leadership capacity,” Rick said. “It’s one of the top student leader positions on campus, and it’s a pretty significant responsibility and a good opportunity for him to grow individually.”
Even though both Rick and Leannah are Aggies, Rick said they didn’t have a set agenda for Luke and his siblings to attend A&M, much less to be involved in Muster.
“All of our kids had an opportunity to visit various colleges. Ultimately, he chose to go to A&M and he decided to join the Corps which, in and of itself, is a challenge. His outfit, Squadron 17, is an outfit of impact,” Rick said. “One of the things they encouraged the freshmen to do is to become a Fish Aides [member] and that’s where he really started looking at Muster. I remember when he was interviewing for Muster, he completely forgot that his mom was Muster chairman — we thought that was pretty funny. But once he got involved with it, that’s when we started helping him fully understand the impact of what Muster is above and beyond what he was getting as a member of the committee.”
Rick said he also has a strong connection to Muster through the Aggie Band, Singing Cadets and serving as a Muster Speaker at a local A&M chapter. Rick said the blessing of Muster is that the university recognizes the person who has passed and the family gets one final memorial of their loved one.
“A&M is unique in the fact that they go back and say, ‘You know what? We want to honor the fact that your loved one was a student at A&M, and we’re going to call his or her name out one more time and recognize them for the fact that they were a part of the Aggie family,’” Rick said.

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  • Rick Thurman, Class of 1984.

    Photo by Courtesy of Rick Thurman
  • Industrial distribution senior Luke Thurman with parents Leannah Thurman, Class of 1985, and Rick Thurman, Class of 1984.

    Photo by Courtesy of Rick Thurman
  • Industrial distribution senior Luke Thurman serves as this year’s Muster Committee chair.

    Photo by Courtesy of Rick Thurman
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