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Chattahoochee Tech, President Newcomb cut the ribbon on their new Veteran Service Center

November 16, 2016

Veteran and military families at Chattahoochee Technical College know without a doubt that their school has their backs.

Georgia’s largest technical college celebrated the grand opening of its new Veteran Service Center on the Marietta campus during the Fourth Annual Veterans Day Appreciation and Recognition event Friday.

Through the center and outreach programs like advisory committee groups across the college’s six-county service area, CTC “pledges its continued commitment to ensure the college’s veteran population, as well as their family members, receive the care and recognition they deserve,” according to a press release.

“Chattahoochee Technical College rallies behind those who have endured the dangers of warfare and provides unparalleled support to their family members,” President Dr. Ron Newcomb said in the release. “The veterans attending our college have sacrificed time away from their loved ones in order to fight to give us the rights and privileges that we so cherish. It is now our turn to serve them as they adjust and seek normalcy in their lives. The stresses they face are predominantly a shared characteristic among the veteran community, and we feel it is our obligation at CTC to serve and support them during their transition.”

College spokesman Mark Andrews added the primary objective of the center is to help veterans and their families from all eight CTC campuses transition from military life to a post-secondary academic environment “and to promote program completion and career placement.”

Through the center, more than 750 enrolled veterans and military students and their families have access to essentials like counseling services, career advising, computers for coursework research, workshops and guest speakers on pertinent topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

“[The purpose of the center is] to provide service to veterans who many times ‘do not know what they don’t know,’” Veteran Services Coordinator Dr. Barry Munday said. “Assistance with connecting to internal and external services, assistance with financial aid beyond VA [Veterans Affairs] benefits and, most importantly, being available to just listen when they want to talk. Discussions concerning academic progress. How to get enrolled for VA benefits.”

It also offers “a place where the veteran and veteran family member can be comfortable and feel at home” while also being a “location in which veterans can join together as a unit, which is what they were accustomed to while serving,” Munday said.

About 130 people — 80 of them veterans — attended Friday’s grand opening, which included a tour of the center, refreshments, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a keynote address by retired Air Force Col. Patricia Ross, a speech by CTC student Jessica Hollis on what it means to be a veteran and recognition of the five military branches.

Organizers also included a Missing Man Table ceremony in memory of fallen, missing or imprisoned military-service members. The table is set for six places that represent members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard as well as the civilians who died during service alongside the armed forces or are missing.

“The grand opening of the Veteran Service Center was a great success, and we were very pleased with the community’s strong support,” Andrews said. “We are excited to carry this momentum forward as Chattahoochee Technical College continues to back our veteran population as they transition to a post-secondary academic environment.”

Informally opened Sept. 6, the center was partially funded by a $12,000 donation from AT&T, which rewarded the college for its participation in the telecommunications company’s $20K for 2020 workforce development competition during the summer, the release said.

AT&T’s External Affairs Regional Director Don Barbour, who serves on the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation board of trustees, presented the check to the college as part of the corporation’s continuing commitment to support workforce development efforts.

The remaining costs of the $50,000 renovation project were paid by the campus life department, Andrews said.   

Munday said the center is staffed by military veterans enrolled this semester who are funded by the VA since they are using VA education benefits to attend college.

Andrews said Newcomb was a driving force behind getting the center open at Chattahoochee Tech, which boasts the second-highest veteran population in the Technical College System of Georgia.

“... Dr. Ron Newcomb has been instrumental in ensuring that the college’s veteran population receives the care and recognition they deserve by backing the ongoing efforts of the college’s growing military services support program,” he said. “By implementing funding to open the Veteran Service Center on the Marietta campus, Dr. Newcomb has played a key role in changing the lives of our service members and their families.”

Article by Donna Harris of The Daily Tribune News.

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