Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 5, 2013

A place of their own

New resource center to serve as social hub for student veterans

(Continued)

“You shut the door and you can’t hear anything,” he said to them.

For some veterans, the center’s best feature will be its exclusivity. It’s only open to them.

Veterans tend to stay away from people who aren’t veterans, Madson said. They want to talk with people who understand what they’ve been through.

Robert Mullen, a longtime Ivy Tech donor, toured the new resource center Wednesday. He smiled as he looked around the room.

“I’m so glad they’ve been able to create a room with a big screen TV and a lounge,” he said. “This is a place for veterans to meet, mix and share stories. After all they’ve given, they deserve a place to call their own.”

Dwight has grand visions for the space. She wants to start one-on-one tutoring for veterans. She also wants to open it up as a meeting space to discuss issues veterans face.

She’s already working with the VA to bring workshops to campus. The first one will be on suicide prevention.

Skip Whitenack, a past district commander for the VFW, said he had to see the resource center for himself. So he made sure he was there for the grand opening.

When he saw the new space Wednesday, he could hardly believe his eyes, he said.

It shows there’s a commitment to and respect for student veterans at the college, he said.

Veterans didn’t have that same respect when they were coming home from war years ago.

He said he remembers a time when veterans were called baby killers.

“No one cared about us,” he said. “They said, ‘You’re a veteran. So what?’ There was nothing out there for us. When we came home, all we had was the bars.”

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