It was only appropriate that on the legal Veterans Day holiday, a great new program designed to help these real American heroes was announced.
Monday, it was announced Northern Michigan University is becoming one of six pilot schools in the state to host a new campus-based outreach service meant to support student veterans, who number nearly 800 in the "recently served" category in the Upper Peninsula alone.
The program, MI-VetSuccess, aims to reach out to these military members who are now enrolled at higher educational institutions in the U.P.
The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs through the Michigan Veterans Coalition is in charge of this effort.
"We are proud to launch MI-VetSuccess as partners with the (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) vocational rehabilitation program, to assist veterans on campus with enrolling in the VA health care system or with filing for disability benefits," said Jason Allen, senior deputy director of the Michigan DMVA in a written statement.
"This program will provide necessary services to on-campus veterans and provide them with information, support and access to benefits they need to successfully transition from military to college, and eventually into civilian employment."
In Marquette Monday, Allen and other state representatives participated in signing a memorandum of understanding between NMU and the Michigan DMVA to establish the university as a host of the program.
MI-VetSuccess will have six geographic regions across the state, with one college or university in each region designated as the hub from which a campus counselor will operate, which should mean easy access for veterans around the state.
"Helping veterans transition from the military into educational programs is a privilege Northern Michigan University takes very seriously," said NMU Interim President David Haynes in a written statement. "That is why being a part of this pilot program is so exciting for our campus. It's especially important that this type of assistance is available in the Upper Peninsula - an area with a very high rate of military service - so that veterans and veteran students throughout the U.P. have local access to this kind of help."
We are delighted NMU is taking part in this effort. And it's wonderful that in addition to advocating for Michigan veterans at NMU, service officers will provide advice and assistance to student veterans at other nearby colleges and universities which have also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Michigan DMVA.
In January, the full program is expected to be in place statewide, which is tremendous. These military men and women stepped up when their country needed them: It's gratifying that others are stepping up to help them as they continue their education.