For veterans, acclimating to civilian life can be daunting, especially for those wishing to pursue a path in higher education. Negotiating stacks of paperwork, determining which benefits package suits the needs of a veteran and choosing a sustainable path to success are just a few of the many hurdles that Lorain County Community College’s Veterans Services guides our veterans through.
Under the guidance of LCCC President Dr. Roy Church, the college has put together a team of faculty and staff who, in addition to their regular jobs, also work to support the veterans on campus. The staff works not only with LCCC, but the partnership colleges as well.
“[We] help our veteran students who might want to pursue the University Partnership program maximize their benefits by being strategic in their selection of courses and their program of study. We also want to be there as support as Veterans transition from their military service back not only into civilian life but the life of a student,” said Krista O’Neill, veteran’s certifying official and coordinator of counseling and advising.
“We currently have 255 veterans using either their Montgomery GI bill or their Post 9/11 [GI Bill],” said Myriam Cordy, LCCC’s veteran’s certifying official and staff assistant for Enrollment, Financial and Career Services.
LCCC is in the process of reorganizing their Veterans Services to be able to fully support the men and women who have volunteered their lives in service. A new Veterans Lounge is nearly complete with a study area for veterans right across the hall. The lounge will officially open on Veterans Day, immediately following a recognition ceremony. The lounge and study area are located near the Bass Library bridge in the College Center building.
Newly appointed Faculty Liaison for Veterans Services and Distinguished Professor Dr. Bruce Weigl is dedicating his free time to helping veterans. He will have a new office within the veterans’ study room in order to be easily accessible for any questions or concerns veterans may have.
Weigl understands the deep bond that veterans share and how essential it is for veterans to come together and have a place to call their own.
“I hope the lounge will be an encouragement for the veterans on campus. We understand that it’s important to have a space for veterans to be veterans,” Weigl said.
Weigl and Veterans Academic Advisor Carrie Delaney recently dedicated a Saturday afternoon at Lorain’s Black River Landing to promote LCCC and its Veterans Services at the Annual Reunion for Lorain County Veterans. The purpose was to bring together the veterans groups across the county to exchange ideas and strengthen the community, according to Sam Felton Jr., vice president for the Council of Lorain County Veterans.
“I think this is a great advance for us. It shows a sign of compassion; they served us, now let’s serve them,” Felton said.
Along with the official Veterans Services within LCCC, a student organization is available for all veterans on campus. Presided over by Michael Weston, the club mirrors the aims of Veterans Services while allowing a more relaxed and social environment.
The club’s mission statement reads, “The purpose of the Veteran’s Club is to promote the fraternal spirit of the United States Military Veterans through on-campus resources and activities.”
The student club hopes to provide relevant information to veterans on campus.
“ We’re hoping to get representatives from the VA healthcare and suicide prevention to come and speak with us,” Weston said.