Life after military brings accolades

By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

The success of former servicemen-turned-students was celebrated at the annual graduating Veterans Dinner April 23.

NE Campus has 37 veterans that are graduating this year, and veterans counselor Christopher Hunt said he is excited for their achievement.

“I know it takes a lot of work and overcoming a bunch of adversity to get to this point, and I’m proud of those who see it all the way through and have been successful,’’ he said.

A former aide to Gen. Colin Powell, Allen Forte, was a guest speaker at the event who offered graduates words of encouragement in their journey in being brave on the next step of their lives.

Academic advisor Russell Cave thought the event was wonderful. 

“I think we need to honor our veterans more, and this is one way to do that,” he said.

NE students Tyrone Davis and Lance Lambert said they experienced a number of trials and tribulations on their journeys to graduation. 

“It took me nearly a year to get myself to say I can accept this challenge of going to school because at the time I was very scared, and I thought I couldn’t do it,” Davis said. “But I prayed to my Lord and savior to give me the knowledge and the skills so I can come to this institute and do better things for my life.”

Lambert spoke of losing everything but bouncing back.

“I got out of the military in 2012, and I was going through a divorce,” he said. “I lost my house, money and everything went to my ex-wife, and I started from scratch with nothing. I was in my mid-twenties and took a job on the pipeline and ended up missing a few years from my daughter’s life due to that job. 

“I moved back home, got custody of my daughter and got help from my ex-wife’s mother and my mother, but I wanted a degree for a better life, and it’s going to pay off in a couple of years.”

NE student Taylor Boyd talked about how much veteran services have improved since he became a student.

“In 2015, we didn’t have a veterans program like they do now,” he said. “The emphasis that has been put toward veteran students on campus gets the credit for me being here.”