Early on, Veteran Scholarships Forever decided to make our funds available to veteran spouses. We are awed and grateful that these funds are having the desired impact in the lives of military couples.
Last month, we heard from Vicki, the wife of a Navy veteran who injured his spine during his enlistment. She kindly let us know how the funds, which are being put toward a Medical Billing certificate at York Technical College, have helped the couple remain financially stable throughout financing the certificate program and a major surgery.
Read Vicki’s letter below:
I was just recently awarded the Veterans Forever Scholarship. I would first like to express my sincere gratitude in being selected for this scholarship. I have already enrolled in the CBCS Medical Billing and Coding class and I am beyond excited to begin. Taking this class has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time and unfortunately have been unable to do so.
By awarding me this scholarship and allowing me to take this course, I will be able to advance in my career as a medical biller. This means so much to my husband and I, and we are so grateful a scholarship like this exists.
I had started saving […]
Interview with Veteran Molly Goldenstar
When you think about containing some of the most dangerous weapons in the world today—chemical and nuclear—you may not readily imagine a woman on the front lines. Yet, that’s what Army CPL Molly Goldenstar pursued during her enlistment. Goldenstar, who served in Korea and trained to disable nuclear weapons at Aberdeen Proving Ground (MD), is wrapping up her Healthcare Unit Secretary course at Greenville Technical College. We were able to speak with her about her transition to civilian life and how VSF has impacted her future.
Why did you choose to enter the military?
I chose to enter the military because I had graduated High School and despite what everyone had told me, I wasn’t comfortable going to college without a plan or idea of what field I wanted to be in. I’m young, I wanted to see what I was capable of and it felt right. Cliché, but that’s how it went.
What positives have you experienced during your transition back to civilian life? Negatives?
Positives: More freedom for the most part. It’s nice not having to wake up before the sun and go for a six mile run or a twelve-mile ruck […]
For veterans, reentry into civilian life is a struggle. They are asked to relate to those who do not understand their experiences; create structure in their lives, filling a gap left by the military; and perhaps worst of all, many soldiers grapple with debilitating mental illnesses, unable to receive the support they so desperately need.
One of the most well known difficulties that veterans face is finding gainful employment. Some reasons for this include:
- Despite the discipline, experience, and work ethic they gain through their service, veterans often have little to no experience finding a civilian job when they first leave the military.
- Many veterans may have never interviewed for a civilian job or even written a resume.
- The military does nothing to prepare vets for the job hunt that will inevitably occur when they come home.
As a result, many veterans have trouble finding and keeping jobs, and civilian employers struggle to understand them.
If you’re a veteran or know one who is seeking employment, the following tips will help guide you through the process of acquiring a job that provides a sense of pride and satisfaction.
1. Translate your skills into terms employers understand.
This is a primary reason why employers don’t hire vets […]
Manuel Gonzalez has always had a bent toward achievement. An all-American college athlete turned Navy sailor, Manuel single-mindedly pursued a career path toward IT during his military career, even pursuing Seal training in order to get himself closer to his goal. As fate would have it, the IT track was not to be for Gonzalez, who instead became a Master at Arms and was deployed with the USS Denver in 2002.
Manuel Gonzalez serving in Italy aboard the USS Denver
Even though Manuel did not enter the IT field, Navy life provided many opportunities to set and achieve goals.
“I always felt I could excel, “ he says. “I felt confident I would have advanced had I stayed in the Navy.”
The job security provided by the military is difficult to find in the civilian world.
The job security provided by the military is difficult to find in the civilian world. Manuel reflects that some of his energy, which was easy to direct while in the military, lost focus upon his return to civilian life in 2005.
“I went through a lot of jobs. I even went back to school […]
Every month, we usually bring you a story about a scholarship recipient and the effect that support has had on their life. However, we wouldn’t be able to provide these scholarships if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors. The people who give to our organization make everything we do possible, making our dreams — to help veterans not only transition back to civilian life, but thrive — a reality.
In 2015, we reached out to the Graham foundation for a grant that would fund a number of scholarships through Greenville Tech. They responded in kind, providing $20,000 in September of 2015. Steve Lambert, a trustee of the foundation, talked to us about why they chose to provide this grant.
Sam Lambert (left) and Steve Lambert (right)
“We look first of all to see if an organization is meeting a critical need. We have a particular interest in supporting veterans… they are a group of people that we particularly value and whose wellbeing we particularly care about.”
Steve may be a little biased. His son, Sam, is a veteran sapper from the US army, rank E5. He cares deeply about […]
“Even if you have an interest and some experience, you have more options when you have an education.”
In their late twenties, Tracy and his wife decided to pursue a career change. Tracy had fond memories of his younger years as an Air Force brat, so together, he and his wife decided to apply. Mrs. Buchanan was accepted, but due to his hearing, Tracy could not enlist. Thus began his life as a military spouse.
The Buchanans’ first assignment was at an Air Force Base in England. From there, they transferred to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, where Tracy’s wife received a commissioning and enrolled in Officer Training School.
The couple continued to travel around the US, an enjoyable experience for Tracy, who worked in a number of different jobs in the communications industry.
“In 2015, my wife retired, and we relocated from DC to Boiling Springs to be near family and to enjoy the area,” said Tracy.
Tracy decided that the move and his wife’s retirement would give him a chance to pursue a career in Real Estate, a field he’d been interested in for some time. While some agencies trained new agents, Tracy decided the best way to go would be […]
A Texas native, Chris Heinen followed in his parents’ footsteps and entered the military, the Army Infantry, in 1987 at the age of 19. After a back injury rendered him unable to continue to serve, Chris returned to civilian life. He used his skills-based high school education to quickly find work in the construction industry. After nearly twenty years in the field, however, job instability was wearing on Chris.
“In 2008 when the economy went bad, I was laid off from a few consecutive roles. But even before that, the lack of regulation in the construction industry really wore me down,” said Chris.
Chris began considering a career change that year, but it would be a few years before he found an opportunity that felt right. Through SC Works, Chris met Greenville Technical College employment coordinator, Steve Hand, who invited him to an on-campus open house and informed him that there was funding available for veterans.
His $2,000 course fully paid for by the Veteran Scholarship Forever fund, Chris was able to enter a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator certification course, the first step in a series of certifications that will allow him to work as […]
Veteran Scholarships Forever was recently inspired by Greenville Technical College’s veteran support page. There, they’ve listed all the resources they provide to veterans on one page. (See Greenville Tech’s Veteran Resources here!)
In that spirit, we’ve listed a few major Greenville area resources for veterans in one place for you to share with a vet you know and love.
All Around Solutions
“Upstate Warrior Solution is a community based nonprofit organization that generates quality of life solutions for Upstate veterans, active duty, National Guard, and Reserve warriors and their families. The UWS model is centralized around face to face outreach to the warrior community, and service lines include Mentorship, Healthcare and Benefits, Education and Training, Housing, and Employment.”
“Upstate Veteran Business Network exists to connect Veterans for the purpose of building a business network of reliable professionals and improve the effectiveness of Veteran-focused organizations in the area through meaningful personal and professional relationships and education.”
MeetUp Group: http://www.meetup.com/UpstateVBN/
Founder, Upstate Veteran Business Network
Greenville SC 29615
E-mail: [email protected]
“Veterans Affairs function is to provide and assist ex-service […]
Student debt is increasing amongst all Americans¹, but on average, a veteran will take on more debt than a civilian student²—in spite of generous GI Bill benefits.
The primary contributors to veteran student loan debt are the same federal student loans that the average undergraduate takes out. In spite of GI Bill contributions, many vets either have to or choose to take out additional loans to pay for education-related fees or to put toward personal finances while in school. GI Bill benefits do not currently cover:
- Out-of-state tuition at public universities.
- Tuition fees at for-profit universities greater than $18,077.50 per year.
- Unaccredited programs such as those found in vocational and technical colleges.
Is Federal Loan Debt Really All That Bad?
Federal loans come with low interest rates, which means debt in this category is typically more manageable. Plus, veterans now do not have to devote more than 10% of their income to debt repayment.³ While this may seem non-threatening at first glance, these policies may lead veterans to take on more debt than they otherwise would.
And, as you […]