Veterans Transition Center receives $40,000 from grant

AT&T and Operation Homefront presented the $40,000 grant to VTC at a ceremony Tuesday.

Riham Feshir

After serving in the military, returning to school full-time wasn’t hard for Justin Riechers: It was “awkward.”

The aerospace engineering junior and co-president of the Veterans Transition Center was a 22-year-old first-year student who found the VTC helpful in transitioning from military life to college life.

“The VTC provides a strong beginning,” Riechers said.

Operation Homefront and AT&T presented the VTC with a $40,000 grant during a ceremony on Tuesday – the largest grant the center has received.

Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance and moral support to families of troops and veterans when they return home.

Vice president of the VTC and junior Alexander Dowds said the organization has given similar grants to veterans’ organizations at other colleges and was open to a proposal from the VTC. The grant will be used in the next academic year.

Since the center is fairly new – opening two years ago – the Student Services Fees Committee approved $6,000 for VTC’s next year’s funding, though it’s $14,000 less than they asked for.

Dowds said the fees committee encouraged student groups to go out and find their own funding.

The group will have to do a lot of planning before using the money, Riechers said.

Members plan to have a veterans’ speaker series, revamp the center and buy new computers.

“Right now, everything that we have up there is either stuff that we brought from home or has been donated,” Dowds said.

AT&T spokesperson Tom Hopkins said the grant fits the company’s values of providing for education and the military.

“One, it matches our philanthropic philosophy of supporting education and two, it supports our longstanding support of the military,” Hopkins said.

Dowds said he will continue working with Operation Homefront and AT&T in the future.

“It’s a demonstration of the strong support from the business community for advancing the education of student veterans,” he said.