A salute to FRCC

By Bob McDonnell
The Surveyor

Kudos to Front Range Community College (FRCC). The school is proactively helping military veterans who are attending the school’s locations in Fort Collins, Longmont and Westminster.

The blog, run by FRCC, says the organization has been awarded $79,969.24 to help establish centers to expand and bolster services for those who served our nation and now are getting an education. These funds were made possible, as FRCC was recently named the recipient of the Kisco Foundations Kohlberg Prize.

From personal experience, I know they can use some help when they start college. In my case, I was 22 years old the first time I attended a college class. Many of my fellow ex-military members were in the same situation. The closest we came to going to college was attending a football game or party.

It was tough being what later became known as a non-traditional student. We were older, had experience — including time in South East Asia for many — and some of us were married. Not your typical fresh-out-of-hig- school 18-year-old by any means.

The FRCC blog mentions the new centers will offer support services to help veterans fulfill their educational and career goals. Also, veterans will have a place to study, get to know each other, and have a place where they can spend time between classes.

The space will be 528 square feet in an existing building. The school will survey and work with veterans to see what they want in the center.

I can tell you this space will be welcomed. In 1967 we had no such refuge. Some of us gathered in a corner of the student break area or found a vacant classroom for casual get-togethers. Some evenings or Saturdays many of us gathered at the local American Legion. I made some lifelong friends during these brief encounters.

Personally, I would like to thank the late Jerome Kohlberg — a veteran, businessman and philanthropist ― and the foundation for the generous gift. I have no doubt these new centers will be welcomed by the men and woman who served our country and now want to get on with their lives.

Overall, institutes of high learning are seeing an influx of student veterans. The Veterans Administration (VA) uses the label “student veterans” to denote those on active duty, reservists, member of the National Guard, and those discharged from service.

The VA website mentalhealth.va.gov says that in 2009 there were approximately 500,000 student veterans and beneficiaries receiving education benefits. In 2013, there were over 1 million.

John Feeley, public relations director at FRCC says the number of veterans on the local campus has grown in the past few years. Feeley says of the 5,800 students at the Fort Collins site more than 275 — about five percent —currently claim veteran status.