Veteran’s Day is a day to commemorate men and women who have served in the US military.
But for Allen Potts, a Vet Corps Navigator for WDVA, and Justin Shults, admissions representative/veterans services for Diver’s Institute of Technology (DIT), every day is reminder of military veterans’ sacrifices.
Allen and Justin work with veterans who are interested or currently attending DIT.
Pointing Student Veterans in the Right Direction: Allen Connects Vets to a Fulfilling Training Experience
Allen works with the Washington State Department of Veteran’s Affairs as a volunteer.
The WDVA Vet Corps program is funded by AmeriCorps to help veterans with their education goals. Vet Corps Navigators like Allen are stationed at colleges and support the institute for a full school year.
Allen’s position as a Vet Corps Navigator allows him to “assist veterans with connecting to local, state and federal benefits” says Justin.
According to the WDVA, Allen and other Navigators also provide aid in
- “Training and support to college faculty, staff and administration to increase awareness of student veterans’ needs”
- “A peer connection for veterans new to higher education”
- Helping “the college to meet the needs of student veterans”
Allen is the GPS for veterans in their academic pursuits.
Through Allen’s role at DIT, veteran students have a point-person to support them outside of the school.
Setting Up Vets for Success: Justin Places Priority on Academic Advantages at DIT
Justin also assists post-military individuals through daily life. But, with Allen on site, Justin is able “to focus on VA issues regarding education benefits, and more DIT specific project regarding the veterans”.
And with a current 55.7% student veteran population at DIT, that’s not a small job.
Justin describes his purpose well:
“It’s about setting these folks up for success in a world that does not understand them.”
“A lot of the vets going through DIT struggle with interacting with civilians, which then starts their spin. Once that vet starts spinning, things fall apart rather quickly. From there, DIT loses a student, and I may potentially lose a veteran.”
With 8.5 years in the US Air Force, Justin understands the struggles of men and women coming out of the trenches.
“I’ve buried several friends,” he says. “It’s hard to celebrate the life of each fallen comrade, and every brother and sister at arms that lost their lives protecting our constitution.” Every day he works with a soldier with PTSD, or a homeless veteran, or helps another navigate seemingly mundane decisions, he is reminded of the ongoing sacrifice these men and women have made.
Continuing to Honor Soldiers’ Service
In personal and academic pursuits, Justin and Allen stand by their veterans. The memories of military service stick with these vets, and Justin and Allen support them, no matter what their past has looked like.
“Veterans Day is a solemn day to reflect on the actions of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, whether they chose to or not,” Justin says.
Beth Smith, staff writer at Water Welders
January 8Learn More