The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Veteran’s center provides beacon of hope on campus

South Disability Support Services assists with the VetSuccess Center which helps veterans with completing tasks that are related to their education.

ALYSON OLIVER
senior editor

A walk through a doorway led to a great impact on student Christopher Shelby’s life.
“In 2018, broken, unsure and afraid, using a wheeled walker/seat, I made my way into the door of the TCCD South Campus Veterans Resource Center,” he said.

Shelby is a veteran who served in Vietnam. He suffered a stroke and had another accident in which he fell from high off the ground and suffered many injuries.

“For more than two years I was homebound physically, emotionally and mentally,” he said.

He described the Veterans Resource Center, and the help he received there, as a godsend.

He had difficulty putting sentences together even following therapy, but after speaking with one of TCC’s veterans’ counselors,he had the feeling someone could finally hear him.
“It started out with Mrs. Groll listening to my story,” he said.

Valerie Groll is a veterans counselor at South Campus. She and her colleagues provide

various services to veterans and military-connected students, such as emotional, career and academic counseling, support transitioning to higher education and peer-to-peer opportunities.

“The extraordinary and incredible amount of patience and empathy she exhibited, not
only eased my anxieties but in no time at all, I knew I was in the right place with the right helping hand to take a first step at trying to start living again,” Shelby said.

Groll said her most memorable experiences with student veterans have been witnessing

their academic successes, whether it be graduation or transferring to a university.

“When they’re able to come to TCC and find a place, whether it’s just taking a class or

two or actually earning a certificate or a degree, they’re relevant again,” she said.

South chair of mechanical and industrial technology Sophy George also had a significant impact on Shelby’s life.

It was a difficult adjustment being in a classroom with a number of younger students,
he said. “She quickly quieted that storm in my head with her genuineness, cordiality and approachability,” he said.

She also taught him skills such as time management, organization and mindful communication, he said.

“These areas of personal growth are because she was a wonderful example during a time when I struggled and quite often hid those struggles and difficulties,” he said.
Along with being chair of the department, George teaches electronics courses. In her
work, she teaches veterans new, valuable skills and advises them in their degree pathways and careers.

“As faculty I have a responsibility to have my classrooms be welcoming to all students,
support teamwork and hold discussions where each student is involved,” George said. “This
is extended to our veteran students and my efforts go into leveraging the strengths they
bring from their military experience.”

Shelby thanked George for being a shining example for him.

“I am reminded and motivated to continually learn and grow,” he said.

There are plenty of ways the TCC community can support veteran and military-connected students, Groll said.

TCC offers Green Zone classes, which teach about military culture, she said. Faculty
can get in contact with the veterans’ counselors on their campus and on-campus employers can hire them. Instructors can trust the veterans in their classrooms to lead with a great example. “Every single day, we’re free because of them, and we forget that,” she said.

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