Reporter: Sarah Bloom l Videographer: RJ Burnette
Danville, VA - Military veterans often come back from serving overseas feeling lost and helpless, and often unable to find work. Now Danville Community College is reaching out to help them.
The campus has hired a Veterans Specialist to work with military veterans to get continuing education and find jobs. It's a new, free service for all veterans. There is also a new Student Veterans Organization on campus.
"When they're over there they're told what to do, where to be, and when to be there and all that and you know you come here and cut some there's a culture shock," said Jim Lindley, Student Activities Director and Veteran.
But now, veterans can count on a new form of guidance when they return home from service.
"The main service of course we provide is to set up their educational benefits that they've earned while they've been on active duty," said Thomas Kelly, Veterans Affairs Specialist at DCC.
The office, in Danville Community College's Service Center, can help any veteran with questions about education, health benefits, or other benefits.
"You know, the VA's regional office is in Roanoke. We're here in Danville and there's nobody to advocate for them or just sit and listen to them," said Lindley.
It's exactly the reason for the office's creation.
"Having the SVO sort of bridges that gap and keeps you from wandering around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to find different services," said Jonathan Keene, a Veteran Student.
"They need to feel that they are needed and they need to feel that they have support and we are here to support them," added Billy Riggins, also a veteran student.
That support is already paying off. Keene hadn't even planned to go to school, then he found out he could go for free.
"It was like the best decision of my life." said Keene.
"If you are a veteran, you need to stop by and at least discuss what benefits you have available to you. Don't let them run out," added Kelly.
Services are also available to spouses and dependents of military members.
For more information, call 434-797-8489 or email Kelly at TKelly@dcc.vccs.edu.