BY: Marvin Mercado
Picture yourself finally signing your separation papers from a branch of the US military and you deciding to use your G.I Bill to go to college.
The day has officially arrived and you have put away your boots and tucked your camouflage in the closet like an old superhero costume.
Now the anxiety has kicked-in, you may be used to a certain schedule or a way of doing things, but now you have to adjust to the very different pace of college life.
As a veteran on the SU campus I searched for a place to connect with other vets and another place I could call “home.” I took on the torch from a Shenandoah alumni and Combat Marine veteran Charles “Chuck” Tippet. After noticing I had enough on my plate I passed it on De’Angelo Wynn and we have endeavored as a well-oiled machine.
At Shenandoah University they have managed to create a space where veterans can come together and talk about old stories and have camaraderie. At our Veterans Center, veterans come together for a place to focus or even just to hang out between classes and enjoy snacks.
The organization Shenandoah Veterans and Supporters is responsible for the space, this student-run organization welcomes veterans from all branches and supporters of our military community.
The veteran presence here at SU has grown significantly since the opening of the center and has attracted service members from all branches. Our SVS members have focused on giving back to the community and connecting other organizations.
I asked Niccole Gatliff, SU’s VA school certifying official, about the center and she said “the Vet center has been a long journey and to have a place on campus is beyond phenomenal. It was a long road to get there but we are appreciative of what we have and we are looking to grow”.
Logan Large U.S Army veteran tells me, “it’s really a place to focus, if people surround you they are willing to help and understand. There isn’t really a disconnect it’s a place a vet could come and feel comfortable”.
For further information, feel free to stop by the Vet center located in Halpin – Harrison Hall.
SVS is currently taking donations as Spring approaches to help fund our events.