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Student Veterans Work to Make Labette Community College a Milit - KOAM TV 7

Student Veterans Work to Make Labette Community College a Military Friendly Campus

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PARSONS, KANSAS -

The transition from military to civilian life can be a tough one. But some veterans believe education can help  if a campus is military friendly.
 That
s the goal at Labette Community College.

Josh Ghering is a student working toward a business degree. On Wednesday he took down problems in a statistics class at Labette Community college. The twelve year veteran who did two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan  struggles with post- traumatic stress. He said some  school subjects  can be tough on veterans.
 "One class that  can be difficult for veterans is psychology class. I had some issues with that class some of the topics,"  said Josh.

 

Fellow veteran Jacob Rion agreed, They want to use examples, stuff like that some people  may not be ok with. They may have different  feelings. There’s a fine line you might not want to cross there  and psychology is probably the toughest class for a veteran,” Jacob explained.
Josh and Jacob, whos a national guard veteran and fought in Afghanistan,  are the driving force behind a new student veterans organization at LCC and are working to make it a military friendly campus. They created a veterans lounge where they can find quiet and those who can relate.

Jacob said,
Veterans, when they come out of the military they dont   know where to go.  They miss the camaraderie,  the brotherhood, the family."

Josh explained, Veterans may need to take a break, catch their breath a little bit  and kind think about things. And talk to somebody about it. A quiet place, quiet time between classes or at the end of the day.”
LCC President Mark Watkins said the college wants to support the student veterans. He said,  "I think thats somewhat therapeutic in itself. We're also working on some way to um create a new position for a counselor."

 The college becoming more military friendly now includes adviser Sara Comer being designated the military connected student services coordinator. Sara said she wants to focus on the positives for veterans,
We have the knee jerk reaction to problematizing (sic) PTS.  All the struggles they have. If we focus on  their assets, their cultural experience, their leadership, all of that, we can help support them and make a supportive environment.

Jacob added, I  had struggles with my  GI bill the most. People not understanding the terminology. So Sara who has worked in veterans affairs helps navigate paperwork necessary for those on the GI bill and connections with the VA.  And the college is working on accepting military training for college credits. When they dont transfer, it can discourage a veteran.

Josh said, "The only thing I was given  credit for was an online class I
d done while in the military. So I  didnt receive any credits for my time in the service  and I think that thats kind of an injustice."


The student veterans organization is  planning an awareness event to call attention to veteran suicide and the prevention benefit of going back to school.

Jacob said,
A  veteran,  if he has a sense of purpose, he's gonna complete, complete a job hes facing. 


Josh added, “I do. I think it (school)  makes  a huge impact.  I know it made a huge impact on my life just simply because after you’ve been in the service and have a purpose to fight this nation’s wars and your purpose has been wrapped in old glory. Once that’s taken away,  whether you were medically retired like I was, or you  got out of the service on your own,  we need a new found  purpose after leaving. And we need some drive. I think that in itself  will bring down the numbers of 22 a day. And hopefully we  can get there to zero.”

The One day, Twenty-two souls event is March 10th.

Josh added,The goal is to raise awareness of the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide. I  have a marine brother I served with  in Afghanistan whos coming to do a carving of a battlefield cross.
His business name  is 17 carvings. We lost seventeen marines in Afghanistan  and he does a carving of a battlefield cross and deliver it to the family that lost a veteran to the war in Afghanistan.

LCC has 21 veterans, six reservists and guard members and 27 spouses and dependents. It  hopes to grow the number of all it serves.

For more information on the awareness event click here.
 

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