By KATE SALTER
On this Memorial Day, The G.V. Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Mississippi State University will concentrate its efforts on supporting the city of Starkville’s holiday events.
Founded in 2006, the center works with the university’s Division of Student Affairs to provide outreach programs designed to assist and educate veterans, service members, family members, and others with a military connection.
The center has a record of success with their Outreach, Transition and Benefits Program, which serves as a resource-base for veterans and service members. Their Veteran Transition Program includes a Veteran Learning Community which helps veterans better acclimate themselves to student life. Along with MSU’s Department of Counseling and Education Psychology, the center helped develop an advanced course for counseling students in how to work with veterans and military members. Finally, through individual support and the support of nonprofit organizations such as the Pat Tillman Foundation, the center is able to offer an array of scholarships.
Ronnie White, interim director of the center, said, “Although summer is a lull-time on campus, the slow-down gives us the opportunity to honor those who have sacrificed for our country by assisting with the community’s celebration. Representatives from our department will be present at the ceremony on Main Street.”
But even during the relaxed pace of the summer, the center carries out significant, student-centered duties.
“We’re very active with helping incoming students at the orientation sessions in June,” White said. “And we are already planning our annual Veterans Awareness Week during the week of Veterans Day in November.”
He said, “We also volunteer our services at the university’s fall MVN2MSU program,” an event in which campus representatives help freshmen and their families settle into the dorms.
With U.S. armed forces at the center of national attention in light of the current war on terrorism and especially the recent death of Al-Qaeda spearhead Osama Bin Laden, White - himself a veteran - said that little has changed in the center’s focus.
“Soldiers react differently to events such as these,” he said. “We think, ‘Okay, we got him. Now let’s move on.’ It’s not about revenge. It’s simply about doing our job.”
Veterans Awareness Week events will occur in the latter part of the holiday week, with a luncheon honoring veterans on November 10, community and campus celebrations on November 11 followed by a reception and a student scholarship banquet that evening, and a celebration on November 12 at MSU’s home football game against the University of Alabama.
For more, visit http://www.veterans.msstate.edu