Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

September 16, 2012

Collaborative effort has goal of finding jobs for veterans

By Jim Vines | jim.helpingveterans@gail.com

September brings “Hiring Our Heroes” across the United States, a collaboration among the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, VA and the White House will bring events to cities throughout the U.S. to help veterans find work through this program.

The events are scheduled through Sept. 29 and will be posted each month thereafter. Go to www.hiringourheroesacroosamerica.org to find out when and where the event is being held.

VA honors

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development honored two students for their efforts to raise awareness about veterans and VA research. Francesca Cetta and Claire Quigley were recognized for their outstanding efforts on behalf of VA research and its mission to improve the lives of veterans.

Inspired by a demonstration of the VA’s DEKA arm prosthetic forum, that coincided with “Take Your Child to Work Day,” Ms. Cetta and Ms. Quigley held a bake sale to help the VA continue to research prosthetics. Both are fifth graders students who reside in Potomac, Md.

The two young ladies developed charts and enlisted help from the VA’s Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Services, to acquire the equipment to be operated and displayed at their bake sale. A prosthetic arm was operated by recruited amputee veterans. The arm is a highly functional prosthetic limb with a fully functional hand, which allows mobility for individuals with upper arm amputation. It is so gratifying to know that our youth care about today’s veterans.

From vet to student

The transition from military life to becoming a student can be challenging. Age and experience disparities on campus coupled with an independent way of life can be jarring for those used to military culture. Universities and community colleges continue to offer and update a range of support, from counseling services and dedicated staff handling benefits paperwork, to exclusive space for student veterans to meet.  

Purdue University in Indiana, has set the model for veterans assistance by introducing among other things, a faculty mentorship program. Awareness of student veterans, not only by fellow students, but faculty as well, is vital when it comes to the success of veterans on campus, both in the classroom and in the financial aid office.

Last week, a processing error on the VA’s part meant benefit payments weren’t sent to some veterans in Ohio and West Virginia. Bowling Green University sprang into action and offered no-interest loans to cover the cost while the issue is being corrected.

The understanding of the financial aid challenges that veterans experience, along with the occasional bureaucratic hiccup, helps university administrators to move quickly in assisting veteran students. Student Veterans of America continues to grow and if the school you attend needs help in this area, consider creating or joining a local chapter.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133 in Mineral Wells.