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The Times
  • HCCC conducts information session for veterans

  • Herkimer County Community College conducted its first Armed Forces Open House on Tuesday afternoon, an information session for veterans considering enrolling at the college full- or part-time, on campus or online.

    Counselors and staff provided information and answered questions about programs and services at HCCC, and representatives from several community agencies also participated in the event.

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  • Herkimer County Community College conducted its first Armed Forces Open House on Tuesday afternoon, an information session for veterans considering enrolling at the college full- or part-time, on campus or online.
    Counselors and staff provided information and answered questions about programs and services at HCCC, and representatives from several community agencies also participated in the event.
    State Veteran Counselor for Herkimer and Oneida Counties Mary Erin Blair said the open house was an opportunity to provide veterans with information on the state and federal benefits available to them and their families. “It takes veterans time before they can get back into the academic world. Veterans come home from an entirely different atmosphere and it takes time before they can concentrate on school. When they are ready we are here to help,” said Blair.
    She added the G.I. Bill offers more than it ever did before.
    “These are well deserved benefits for well deserving veterans, and we’re trying to encourage veterans to go to school and use the G.I. Bill they have earned,” said Blair. “If were able to reach at least three or four veterans, we will have made a difference.”
    Navy veteran Hilary Aguirre said she was glad HCCC conducted the open house.
    Aguirre is enrolled in the college’s health services management program for the fall 2012 semester.
    “Everyone here was someone who could help me,” she said, adding it can be difficult to reach needed resources such as a veteran certified officer. “Because someone was here in person I was able to get everything I needed to complete before classes begin in the fall.”
    Aguirre said she feels she is ready to go to school because the military allowed her to mature faster.
    “Students who graduate from high school and go straight to college aren’t ready, at least in my opinion. I feel by joining the Navy I’m much more focused and prepared than I would have been if I did not join the military after high school,” she said.
    HCCC Registrar Craig Dewan assists veterans with the certification process when they enroll.
    “I’m here to make sure the students receive their veterans benefits and let them know who to contact through the Veteran’s Administration if they have any further questions or concerns about their G.I. Bill funding,” he said.
    Mohawk American Legion Post Commander Rich Monahan said he attended the event to promote the Mohawk Legion, as well as all American Legions in Herkimer County.
    He was also at the open house to display the new Fallen Stars Memorial. Monahan said the memorial can be displayed at any event and asked anyone interested in displaying the memorial to call the Mohawk American Legion at 866-4870 or to go online to www.mohawklegion.org.
    Page 2 of 2 - Luke Slatton, of the Sitrin Military Rehabilitation Program, said the program provides care for wounded warriors who have post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, post-acute substance abuse and other combat-related conditions. “Those who partake in the program usually have a tough road ahead, but we’re there to help them along the way to recovery,” he said.
    Slatton was also at HCCC to promote Sitrin’s Stars and Stripes Run and Walk at SUNYIT on Sept. 29. Proceeds from the walk will benefit the agency’s post-traumatic growth program as well a future lodge and medical treatment center at Camp Sitrin. For more information, go to www.sitrin.com.

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