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College helping veterans deal with challenges

May 16, 2014
By Christie Crawford and Moira Samek , The Leader Herald

Fulton-Montgomery Community College welcomes veterans and current military members to our campus, and we thank you for your service and sacrifice. Today, many veterans (and family members of veterans) are taking advantage of a variety of federal programs and incentives to attend college and to pursue a new career path.

FM understands that the transition from active duty into the civilian community brings with it challenges that can be overwhelming. We offer a variety of supportive services and resources to students to ease this transition.

In the 2013-14 academic year, more than 65 veterans or current military members received veteran education benefits to assist them with their goals at FM. In some cases, these benefits can cover the cost of tuition, books, supplies and even housing or living expenses. There may be expiration dates on some benefits, and students are always encouraged to contact the Veterans Administration for more information on their eligibility.

The Student Veteran Club at FM was first started by a small group of students in fall 2012 who wanted to come together and make a positive impact on our campus. Although the club members plan and coordinate community-service functions and special events, the club has also become a "place" for veterans to bond and talk about their experiences. Those experiences are not just military-related, of course. The experience they are sharing as students, post-military, is something that brings the group together semester after semester.

Still a relatively new club on campus, the club members have already been involved with a variety of projects, both on and off campus. They sponsored a "Thank a Veteran" night at the FM Raiders basketball games last November, where they handed out T-shirts and welcomed military members and their families to attend the games for free. They recently hosted a screening of the World War II veterans documentary "Honor Flight: One Last Mission" in FM's theater as well. Last semester, the club began fundraising for the restoration and rededication of the campus's Vietnam War Memorial. Some preliminary landscaping has been done, and the expected completion date for the restoration will be this coming fall semester. The club also had the privilege of interacting with some of our national politicians this year. Recently, members of the club met with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand while she visited FM, and they received a Congressional Challenge Coin from U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson.

Dan Towne, systems librarian at FM, is the club's faculty adviser and an Army veteran. "I really like working with our veterans and active military members here at FM," he said. "The dynamic of the group is great. They are focused. They set their sights on something and set out to accomplishing that goal. I'm sure that has a lot to do with their military experiences."

For more information on veteran education benefits or on any of FM's services and resources for veterans or active military members, visit www.fmcc.edu/admissions/military-veterans/.

Christie Crawford is an academic adviser and Moira Samek is a financial aid adviser at FM.

 
 
 

 

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