September 26, 2012 | 12:56 p.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
The Veterans Resource Center at Bethel University hosted Minnesota’s Mobile Vet Unit in Kresge Courtyard recently to raise awareness of veterans and veteran benefits on campus. The 39-foot motor coach travels around the state to offer veterans and their families non-medical counseling as well as resources to address veterans’ social and economic needs.
Lina Montour, who works as the mobile vet center technician, spent a few hours meeting veterans at Bethel and telling them about the benefits available to them, such as housing and education benefits, recreational opportunities, grant assistance, healthcare, and readjustment counseling. Ryan Turnmire, coordinator of the Veterans Resource Center at Bethel, arranged the visit and hoped the event would help connect veterans on campus with each other and the resource center.
Turnmire, a sergeant with the Minnesota National Guard, served a long-term deployment with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Battalion between 2005 and 2007, the longest deployment of any military unit. He is currently enrolled in the College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS) studying human services.
For veterans in school, the biggest piece of advice Montour offers is to determine a purpose for enrolling in college. Too often, she sees veterans return from combat and go straight to school. “It is sometimes hard to transition from military to civilian life and some go right to school,” Montour explains. “They are on a natural high and they’re going and going and then suddenly something happens and things go badly.”
Transitioning from military to academic life for Turnmire meant learning to take care of himself and how to approach professors even when it’s difficult. “The biggest transition is learning how to find help and getting the right help,” he explains. Montour advises veterans to let their professors know that they are a recently returned combat veteran and to ask for help when necessary.
Veterans at Bethel can find assistance through the Veterans Resource Center, which is available to help all veterans on campus – students, employees, and alumni, Turnmire says. Located at the Bethel Office Center, the center offers veterans information on the GI Bill, scholarships, and veteran entitlement as well as admissions assistance, counseling referrals, transition assistance, and recreational activities. For more information, contact Turnmire at firstname.lastname@example.org.