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Program helping veteran attend college

By: Matthew Rand Email
By: Matthew Rand Email

As veterans make their way home from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more are seeking help to go back to school or to find a job.

One man who served during Operation Desert Storm is taking advantage of a program that provides financial assistance for higher education.

Don Smith never thought at the age of 45 he would go to college.

After high school he enlisted in the army and served for eight years. When he left the service in 1993, he could have gone to school on the G.I. Bill, but decided not to. It was a decision he would regret.

"I just didn't want to go to school. I was content. I settled. Don't settle."

When Don left the army, going back to school wasn't part of the plan, but now, thanks to the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, he's back in the classroom studying to become a teacher.

"I always wanted to be a high school history teacher. I always wanted to teach history."

School officials say there are several programs in place for veterans seeking to further their education.

"There's a lot of opportunity for veterans to return to school and we're seeing an increase in that population of students entering college now," said Financial Aid director Chuck Anderson.

Don says he's grateful for the chance to follow his dream. He encourages other veteran soldiers to do the same.

"If anyone's out there and they're sitting there and they have no income coming in and they're just in a dull part of their life and they're stuck, this is something that will get you out of there and get you in the direction you want to go in."

It's something Don says veterans deserve, and he hopes more will take advantage of it.

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