Veteran’s Fair reaches SJC

The San Jacinto College District held its first-ever Veteran’s Fair Feb. 24. at South campus.

The Fair aimed to put veterans in touch with job opportunities, offer assistance with their Veteran Administration benefits, and introduce them to organizations dedicated to helping Vets succeed in their post-military life Participating in the fair were representatives from the Texas Veterans Commission, the Work Life Institute, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Eugene Bernard, the Veteran Success Coordinator at South campus’s Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, organized the event. Bernard is in his ninth year with San Jac and in his third year as Coordinator.

According to Bernard, other than stopping in to submit GI Bill paperwork, most veteran students never visit the Center leaving them unaware of the other services and information available. While the primary focus of the Center is to assist in processing education benefits, Bernard wants to do more. “I have a passion for student success,” Bernard said.

In addition to San Jac students, the event was open to anyone looking for information pertaining to veterans’ services. By day’s end, more than 70 students, veterans, and interested members of the community attended the fair.

Robert Collins, a Navy Veteran and San Jac HVAC student, said he was very pleased with the fair. “Veterans wouldn’t be as successful without the Veteran’s Center,” Collins said. “[They] work very hard to meet my needs…. I really appreciate them,” he added.

Will Inman, whose wife is an Information Technology student, was also in attendance. He said he was left amazed by the number of organizations represented. “You [just] don’t know the amount of resources and help available,” Inman said.

The fair’s organizers considered it a great success, especially because it was the first of its kind. Representatives were “very pleased with the turnout,” Educational Planner for South campus’s Vet Center Jackie McDuffie-Mundine said. She continued,” [the fair] greatly exceeded expectations.”

Central and North campuses will follow suit with veterans’ fairs of their own. Central Campus will host its own event April 7 while North campus’s fair will happen May 1 to kick off National Military Appreciation Month.