Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 26, 2012

Veterans form campus student group

TAHLEQUAH — Preparing for and going to college can be quite the unexpected adventure.

Military veterans are leaving behind a level of daily routine that cannot be experienced on a high school or college campus. These men and women are looking to prepare for life not only as a student, but as a regular member of the community, as well, after being exposed to often-times harsh living conditions and potentially fatal situations thousands of miles away from family and friends.

Getting ready to start classes at a college or university is the very least of what these combat and non-combat veterans are concerning themselves with as they approach a return to what’s supposed to be a normal life.

Northeastern State University students and U.S. military veterans Angela Walker and Jason Denny served in the Navy and Air Force, respectively, and wish to represent their fellow veterans through forming a local chapter of the national organization known as the Student Veterans of America. The organization was developed in 2008 to provide programs, resources and support to the constantly-changing network of student veteran organizations, according to the SVA’s website.

NSU has nearly 400 veterans enrolled, and some of these men and women need extra support in getting ready to begin or continue life in the classroom, said Walker, who is the NSU SVA Chapter president and a 1992 graduate of Tahlequah High School.

“I’ve actually met several veterans on campus, and that was part of the reason I wanted to get something started,” she said. “There’s a particular veteran who emailed me about having issues about even just driving here. There’s a lot of issues. That’s one of the main issues for people that are coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere. If you have PTSD and you don’t feel safe or if there’s depression or suicidal thoughts or something, I think as a community - as the NSU community, we need to have something in place for these people. I wasn’t in combat. So on one hand Jason can express that better, and I as a non-combat veteran – I’ve been overseas, and I’ve experienced things, too. So I can relate to other people on a different level.”

Walker, who is a visual communications major minoring in criminal justice, performed duties as a Naval data processing technician while serving in Italy while Denny, who is a marketing and business major minoring in cultural studies learning about his Cherokee heritage, served in the Air Force from 2003 to 2009 before coming home to California, where he was a part of a similar program called Troops to College at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton.

“I did two tours, and I have a medal for valor in 2004,” he said. “One of the bigger parts of what we do as student veterans is you’ve got to look at not just the student, but the person. It’s a holistic view. Sometimes we come back from combat – myself included I will say – not, uh, the same person that went in. So in that transition, I actively pursued my own counseling and so forth. I knew I needed the help. Not every veteran is like that, and what is nice is other veterans like myself and Angela can sometimes identify when a soldier comes back.”

For example,  a veteran may contact a student organization like the SVA to take a tour of the campus, but also to request someone meet and go with he or she as they visit each building at the school because “he can’t walk by himself on the campus.”

“He might be suffering from some PTSD of some kind. He’s nervous of his surroundings still,” said Denny. “And one of the things that’s important to be a successful person and student, I look at being a healthy person first to make the successful student. That’s what’s important. So together we can work with them. Make them feel more comfortable, and let them know that this is a safe environment. That’s one of the purposes of this, and also work with the other services here on campus, such as the counseling services and even with mentorship with ROTC and so forth. They can let them know that they are in a good and safe environment, too. Those kinds of things make a big difference to us as individuals coming back. It really does.”

The NSU SVA Chapter is in its beginning stages of development, but already has a handful of members in Lucas Coats, who will serve as treasurer, and Abbigail Sain, who will serve as secretary. NSU English lecturer and veteran Tony O’seland will be an advisor to the group, as will NSU Criminal Justice Assistant Professor and veteran Dr. David Madden.

“I’m glad Jason has had so much experience, but there are a lot of veterans on campus like he was talking about that can’t walk alone,” said Walker. “I’ve talked to one of the counselors here, and I’ve talked to some of the people from the VFW, and they’re willing to come and talk about some of the benefits. In the spring semester, I have thought about having a seminar so incoming veterans, and even the ones that are still here that aren’t aware of the program - but have a seminar and have like the VFW, the DAV, counseling services, people from the VA to come [share their information]. Then have break-out sessions so if someone’s interested in learning about the Post-911 GI Bill or counseling whether it’s through the VA, and there’s a couple people here in Tahlequah.”

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • sr-Sherman-Alexie.jpg Native wit

    Sherman Alexie Jr., self-professed “res” American Indian, dislikes casinos, mascots and Oklahoma for stealing his favorite basketball team.
    Northeastern State University welcomed the celebrated poet, writer and filmmaker to campus Wednesday, and the audience was treated to 90 minutes of witty and unblinking observation from the perspective of an American Indian all-too-familiar with life on a reservation.
    Alexie, named one of the 21st Century’s top 20 writers by The New Yorker, delivered what was essentially a standup monologue to a packed house in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. Some of Alexie’s best-known works are “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” a book of short stories, and the film “Smoke Signals.”

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • rock-jodi.jpg Woman serving time for burning baby seeks judicial review

    A Cherokee County mother sentenced to 17 years in prison for burning her 14-month-old baby with an iron is asking for a judicial review.
    Court records show Jodi Leann Rock, 21, requested a copy of her judgment and sentence, and this week filed an application for a judicial review. Copies of her request have been submitted to a judge and the District Attorney’s Office.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-SchoolCharter.jpg Concerns expressed as SB 573 awaits House vote

    With an Oklahoma Senate bill now awaiting a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, some parents are voicing concerns about the futures of rural K-8 schools in Cherokee County.
    Senate Bill 573 calls for a commission to establish charter schools throughout the state. A charter school receives taxpayer funding, but functions independently. They can be founded by an array of interests, including teachers, parents, universities and nonprofits. In Oklahoma, tribal entities can establish charter schools.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man gets suspended sentence for possession

    A 37-year-old Webbers Falls man has been given a suspended sentence on drug-possession charges.
    Dusty Kayl Skaggs was charged with endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine earlier this year after he and 43-year-old Misty Hayes Paden, of Muskogee, were arrested during execution of a search warrant.

    April 24, 2014

  • sr-NSU-Earth-day.jpg NSU students observe Earth Day

    Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
    The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-smallholders-courtesy.jpg Rural smallholders host annual show

    More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
    Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • pitts-hurley.jpg Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
    Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
    Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-Wikafile.jpg Communiversity Band performs Sunday

    Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
    The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
    “Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
    “We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council concerned over reports of land contamination

    Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
    Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
    Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Council tables cell tower permit apps

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
    Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
    Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.

    April 23, 2014

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks