By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor
Veterans have served for all Americans, and TCC is returning the favor with counselors who provide guidance and resources to veteran students.
Each campus has a veterans counselor. They work to empower, promote learning and advocate for policies and procedures designed to make campuses more veteran-friendly.
Also, the new VetSuccess center, a designated space for TCC veterans, is now functional on NW, said VA VetSuccess counselor William Cobb.
“I think that the use of benefits and understanding serves support for veterans,” Cobb said. “Other offices might not be familiar with veteran rules because they do not apply to other groups.”
TR veterans counselor Kevin Curry said he has the best job at TCC because he can welcome and help new generations of heroes as they transition to the next phase of their lives.
“The vast majority of my veteran students courageously responded to the crisis of Sept. 11 by risking it all in service of their country,” Curry said. “I admire and am humbled by their sacrifice, and I attempt to repay their efforts by being there when they need me.”
South veterans counselor Valerie Groll said all campus counselors are either veterans themselves or military-connected and understand military culture.
“I jokingly but sincerely tell the students I work with that I humbly serve them and am grateful for their service,” Groll said. “Because of their service, I am free to say just anything I want on a daily basis. It is an honor to give back to this population.”
NE veterans counselor Christopher Hunt said adding the challenge of going to college to the other challenges veterans have experienced can be very stressful.
“Learning to navigate the academic system can be challenging for anyone,” Hunt said. “They may still need or want a college education, but without our amazing team of veterans specialists, we may lose many of our veteran students because they could not find the correct building to go to or the correct person to talk to, because they did not know which questions to ask.”
SE veterans counselor Christina McDonald said in her role, she can help veterans in many ways, but the most important way is to help ease the transition from military to civilian life.
“I am here to support and guide the veteran students to feel welcomed here at TCC,” McDonald said. “I am able to help veterans use his or her benefits to their maximum potential.”
SE veteran student Daniel Russell said having counselors accessible to him benefited his registration process. His counselor helped make his degree plan and was imperative to his success at TCC.
“Our school experience isn’t like most. We have different needs and navigating the system can be intimidating and daunting at times,” Russell said. “I would recommend everyone utilize their counselor, especially vets. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having another person vested in your success.”