From Hinds Community College:
Giving back to those who have served their country is the mission of the Hinds Community College Office of Veterans Services.
For veterans such as Vicksburg resident David Mackey, 35, the assistance has made a journey back from personal trials much smoother.
“I reached out to Veterans Services at Hinds and, soon, I realized my dream of going into commercial aviation was not only feasible but physically possible,” said Mackey, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who came to Hinds after returning from active duty and while recovering from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Mackey is attending Hinds on a Mississippi Airports Association scholarship and plans to earn his pilot’s license.
“Hinds has given me the gift of flight,” he said.
The office is organizing a special program to mark the Veterans Day holiday Nov. 11. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Raymond Campus courtyard, next to McLendon Library. The guest speaker is Col. John Breland, commander of the Army’s 139th Legal Operations Detachment.
Veterans Services strives to promote a smooth transition from the military to the academic environment for veterans and their families, often through collaboration with other departments at the college and with academic advisers available at each Hinds location.
“Our department helps veterans and their dependents navigate the Veterans Affairs system and certify about 600 students annually, on average, to the VA,” said Bryan Grove, assistant director of Veterans Services. “Also, we have received the Military Friendly School rating the past two years for our programs and policies.”
For many, such as Benjamin Everett, the first step is help to access GI Bill benefits, residency status, any special academic accommodations, withdrawals due to deployments, referrals to other services both on and off campus.
Everett, of Madison, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and an online student at Hinds, worked with Veterans Services to help him figure out his class schedule and tackle his core academic coursework.
“Hinds has helped me find the best education route to take based on my military experience,” Everett said. “They have also helped me get credit for military courses that would apply to my degree.”
Services offered by the department are geared to assist veterans achieve their goals, whether it be to upgrade job skills, change careers or transfer to a four-year institution, said Bryan Spurlock, financial aid adviser for Veterans Services and retired Marine Corps and Mississippi Army National Guard first sergeant.
“Veterans Services is proud of the great strides we have made toward helping our veterans and their dependents obtain their hard-earned benefits and reach their educational goals,” Spurlock said.
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