Representatives were readily available in the 2nd Annual Veteran’s Fair for veterans wanting to further their college career.
The 2nd Annual Veteran’s Career and Resource Fair inhabited the Fullerton College quad Thursday, April 7, offering a safe space for veterans seeking educational, financial and employment opportunities.
The fair teemed with booths that targeted veterans’ needs.
Whether it was discussing the steps to take when transitioning out of the military to a college campus or offering financial assistance to fund their college education, the fair provided a wealth of resources and connections to professionals and outreach specialists to tackle their questions.
Over at the CALVET booth, OC’s local inter-agency network coordinator (LINK) Eddie Falcon said, “Our task as a state agency is to assist veterans in benefits and services they may be entitled to by whether it’s vets, state, county, city or non-profit.”
He added that CALVET worked very closely with all the county veteran services and that he attended all veteran-related events in order to answer questions regarding the educational system, employment and criteria to follow when a veteran becomes sick in the military.
Veteran outreach specialist Patrick Thomson, a Vietnam veteran himself, hosted the Goodwill booth.
“We work with veterans pretty much from A-Z,” Thomson said. “If they’re totally unemployed, we can help them. If they’re in school, we can also help them. We can obviously clothe them too, and [Goodwill] has plenty of jobs as a lot of people work there.”
Thomson said that Goodwill, a 4.5 billion-dollar company, was affiliated with the American Warrior Partnership grant, which sought to provide help in every way possible for veterans.
The fair also offered a booth discussing the Suicide Prevention Program and its relevance to veterans suffering from suicidal urges.
“We’re promoting the veteran’s crisis line, which is a national number, text site, and a mobile number that [veterans] can access.” Nick Clough, suicide prevention coordinator from VA Long Beach, said. “All three numbers will connect to a counselor who is available 24/7, and it will help them with any kind of crisis, including suicidal thoughts.”
Since the hotline opened in 2008, there were over 50,000 veteran rescues, according to Clough.
FC students mingled with the representatives and learned about what resources may be specifically helpful for their unique situation.
“I’m trying to find job opportunities, as they are so slim right now. Being able to talk to the representatives themselves is a big benefactor,” U.S. Army veteran and civil engineering major Trevor Romeo said. “You get better insight into the company and the resources as well.”
Nursing major and fellow U.S. Army veteran Anthony Perez said, “I always make a Plan A, B and C, so it’s best to know who’s out here and who to apply to.”
Aghabi Rangel, office coordinator of FC’s Veterans Resource Center, hoped that through this event, students will gain awareness of the campus and community support and appreciation for their veteran status.
“I hope that they take advantage of the resources and employment opportunities available to help them excel and get to their next level,” Rangel said.
For more information on the Veteran’s Resource Center, visit the website here.