Parkland offers many benefits to veterans
On Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., Parkland College held a Veterans Day ceremony in the Student Union. The
guest speaker of the event was Harold Huffman, a World War II tech sergeant on a B-17 Bomber. Huffman spoke about how life was hard during wartime, but it was not an unhappy time for him. He feels strongly that Americans should remember the veterans who have fought for our country’s freedoms.
Cadet John Rossi, a flag bearer in the ceremony, agreed that Veterans Day is an important day to show appreciation for the men and women in service.
“To me, I think Veterans Day is about remembering that many people serve this country, and remembering that there is a cost to our lifestyle and safety. Be thankful, and be sincere. Doing something nice, or even just talking to a veteran, is a wonderful thing to do,” Rossi said.
Also speaking at the event was the Coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services, Kristina Taylor, who said that each semester 500 veterans attend Parkland, with around 350 of which received veteran’s education benefits.
“Parkland has been approved for all Federal and State Veterans Education benefits.” Taylor said, and explained that these benefits include the Montgomery GI Bill, the Selected Reserve GI Bill, the Reserve Education Assistance Program, the Vocational Rehabilitation, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Survivors/Dependents Education Assistance, the Leonard Nettnin Memorial Scholarship, the Mahomet-Seymour American Legion Scholarship, the MIA/POW Scholarship, the Illinois Veterans Grant and the Illinois National Guard Grant. Veterans also qualify for Federal Financial Aid.
Parkland also offers help to veterans socially.
“The transition from the military to civilian life can be stressful and navigating the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be frustrating,” Taylor said. Parkland’s Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services advises the Student Veterans Association at Parkland (SVAP) and the SALUTE National Honor Society. The office of Financial Aid also offers a resource center for students that provides veteran-related information and offers a place for the veterans to network with each other,
Cadet Wade Beasley, a flag bearer during the Veterans Day ceremony, stated that he hoped to obtain a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, which meant having strong time management skills. Rossi added that there was even more to juggle than just school and a personal life.
“Not just when to work and when to play, when to do homework, when to study, when to prepare your uniform, when to work out, and when to work on other aspects of being a cadet, like extracurriculars and volunteering,” Rossi said. “The thing that makes it hard is that no one is telling you what to do; it’s entirely your responsibility to do what you need to do.”
The director of Disability Services, Cathy Robinson says that 45 veterans currently use Disability Services; she hopes that more veterans will stop by and discuss services that could possibly benefit them in the future.
Many of the veterans that use the disability services benefit from the educational accommodations, including extra time on tests in a room with no distractions, among other adjustments that support specific needs.
According to Robinson, the Office of Disability Services will also refer students to Parkland’s Counseling and Advising Center where students benefit from personal counseling services that are confidential and offered at no charge. Student veterans can also use the office of disability to be referred to organizations outside of Parkland, such as the VA office in Danville, the Center for Wounded Veterans, Community Elements, the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services, and others.
“All I want to say is thanks for Parkland for having a great ceremony to thank veterans in the school and in the community. I’m sure it means a lot to many of those ladies and gentleman,” Rossi said.
EXTRA INFO FOR GRAPHICS:
Rossi: It’s a bit of a hard question due to everyone having a different schedule, and since every day is different. But to give you the best sense, I’ll give this approximate schedule:
- Wake up for PT (0600, MW)
- Finish PT, have breakfast (0700, MW)
- Go to class and study, including once/week Air Force Aerospace Studies class (varies between 0800 and 1800 and day to day, depending on individual schedules)
- Leadership Laboratory (1700-1900, Thursday)
- Study, relax, sleep, eat – essentially whenever you can or need to. The weekends can make you or break you, depending on what you do with them.
Monday-6 AM PT, eat, shower, prepare for class or practice for honor guard, class, etc
Tuesday- AFAS class, learn Air Force history
Wednesday- same as Monday
Thursday- Class all day, then a 2 hour leadership laboratory in the evening
Friday- Some cadets have make up PT, along with other classes
Weekend- Squadron meetings or other extracurriculars, volunteering, and studying