Military students serve fellow veterans
“It’s nice to be able to get out and talk to people who understand where you’re coming from”
College life is an adjustment for many new students. More difficult courses, new people and unfamiliar surroundings can be overwhelming at first. For student veterans at Liberty, trading their combat boots for collared shirts and re-learning how to live their lives as civilians instead of soldiers may be the greatest adjustment of all.
Liberty student veterans Charles Cash, Jeff Harrison and Jesse Hogan began the Student Veterans Group (SVG) in 2009 to help their fellow student veterans adjust to college life after serving in the military. Cash has since graduated, and now sophomore political science major Jared Delello is the student president of SVG. Both Cash and Delello were in the Marine Corps infantry. Both have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Delello, the best thing about SVG is that it gives veteran students a sense of camaraderie.
“It’s hard to share something with someone that they don’t understand, so we’re able to share things,” Delello said. “It’s kind of like a support group, for lack of better words. It’s not really, but it is nice to be able to get out and talk to people who understand where you’re coming from.”
The veterans have diverse military backgrounds, but all have common experiences.
Delello, a Los Angeles native, joined the United States Marine Corps in 2005 for four years. He joined the Marine Corps after high school because he believed in America’s cause and also did not want to go to college immediately. The Marines felt right, according to Delello. He was deployed to Iraq for seven months in 2007 and to Afghanistan for eight months in 2008. He is currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserve. When asked if he would do it all again, he responded with an enthusiastic yes.
“It’s been a way I have seen God so much, so I wouldn’t change that for anything,” Delello said.
The SVG works with local Veteran Affairs and Wounded Warrior Projects, as well as the Roanoke Veteran Affairs facility. Veteran student members of SVG also mentor and give advice to ROTC students who are considering a career in the military. The group also hopes to involve non-veteran and non-military students in veteran outreach programs and Christian Service opportunities, according to SVG’s mission statement.
“There are certain things you can only help people with in life because you went through some of those similar things, whether it’s experiences, abuses — any kind of trauma. People who can help are the ones who have done it themselves. We’re the ones to help out the ROTC students, mentor them, share with them some of our experiences,” Delello said.
Military students are encouraged to email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/LUSVG. All military and ROTC students are welcome.