Cameron University welcomes veterans, active military and dependents to Veterans Resource Fair

Cameron University’s Office of Veterans Affairs will host 27 organizations that can assist veterans, military service members, and their dependents with information regarding a variety of available services. The CU Veterans Resource Fair will be held Wednesday, April 3, and Thursday, April 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first floor of the McMahon Centennial Complex.

“This is a great opportunity for veterans from across southwestern Oklahoma,” says Vicki Henson, CU Coordinator of Veterans Affairs. “With 27 veteran-related organizations on site, we will offer a wealth of information about free resources to our veterans and military-connected students that are at their disposal.”

The Veterans Resource Fair will feature representatives from numerous local, state and federal organizations.

Jennifer Waltz, Supervisory Veterans Claims Examiner, Muskogee Federal Department of Veteran Affairs Regional Processing Office, will be available to discuss VA educational benefits.

Kimberly Wendell, Military Service Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will be available to provide information, answer questions and discuss all other types of VA benefits.

Alfred Finch, VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) counselor at Cameron University, will be available to assist current students using VA educational benefits with specialized career, financial and personalized counseling services and employment search assistance. Finch also assists prospective CU VA educational beneficiaries, including active servicemembers and their dependents, in their transition from military to college life. He can also provide information about the Federal Department of Veteran Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program, which includes assistance with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, independent personal business initiation and job seeking skills coaching.

Julia Miller, Troops to Teachers Recruiter for the Oklahoma Department of Education, will be available. The Oklahoma office assists transitioning service members and veterans as they begin new careers in public, charter and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. The goal is to identify these service members and help facilitate the process in obtaining their teaching certificate. Troops to Teachers provides counseling, financial assistance, alternative certification application assistance, plus job search assistance.

Michael Gardner, RN, BSN, Native American Nurse Navigator and Tribal Liaison, VA Medical Center, Oklahoma City, will be on site to assist Native American veterans and dependents. Gardner will offer assistance with health care benefits, information how the VA Medical Center is working with Indian Health Services to better serve Native American veterans, referrals regarding other services available to Native American veterans, and more.

Representatives from Oklahoma Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (OKESGR), a Department of Defense program, will be in attendance. OKESGR is designed to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. ESGR staff and volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.

The Lawton VA Outpatient Clinic will have representatives available to provide VA Health Care Benefits information. The clinic provides primary care, mental health care, telehealth, dental, pharmacy, nutrition and home based primary care services

The Red River Mobile Vet Center, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, provides readjustment counseling and information resources to veterans and focuses on services that help veterans make the difficult transition between military and civilian life. Representatives will be available.

A representative from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Suicide Prevention Office, will be available to acquaint attendees with available resources on Wednesday, and information will be available on Thursday.  In addition, personnel from the Red River Mobile Vet Center will be able to assist with information on this important topic.

Representatives from the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs (ODVA) will be available to assist veterans and their dependents with claims before the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA). Claims officers are accredited with a number of service organizations in order to better represent the claimant with claims and appeals. Claims officers will assist in the appeals process, and if necessary, represent the claimant at a personal hearing before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Muhammad Ali, Fort Sill Army Wounded Warrior Program Representative, will be available on behalf of the Army's Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP). WCTP provides personalized support to assist soldiers, veterans, their families and caregivers to navigate processes and procedures to open doors to services, resources and benefits for smooth continuity of care as veterans enter the VA system in the transition process.

Gold Star Wives of America, a Congressionally chartered service organization for surviving spouses, will be represented by Pat Collins Miller, Government Relations Committee. Gold Star Wives advocates for survivor issues on both the federal and state level.

Jerome F. Davis, Employment Readiness Program Manager, Army Community Service (ACE) Employment Readiness Program, will provide information and referral services to military spouses, active duty military, retired military, active guard and reserve, DoD civilians and all immediate family members in the areas of employment, training and volunteer opportunities.

Oklahoma Works - American Job Network (including veteran services) will have a representative available. Oklahoma Works aligns resources, education, training and job opportunities to build Oklahoma’s workforce. Oklahoma Military Connection connects civilian employers with Oklahoma veterans, service members, and their families.

Representatives from Disabled American Veterans (DAV) will be in attendance. DAV is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high quality lives with respect and dignity. They accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Post #5263, will have a representative available. Since 1899, VFW is the largest combat Veterans Organization.

Representatives from American Legion Post 29 will also be attending. The American Legion offers numerous resources, including the Operation Comfort Warriors program which supports recovering wounded warriors and their families. Representatives will also provide information on The Forty and Eight, a fraternal and charitable honor society of American veterans.

Cameron University Student Support Services (SSS) staff members will be in attendance. SSS is a federally funded Title IV program whose mission is to offer appropriate academic support services to Cameron University students who have academic need, are first generation, have an economic need, or students with disabilities. SSS strives to retain and help program participants graduate with baccalaureate degrees by providing academic advisement, tutoring, mentoring, career advisement, finance assistance information, SSS cultural trips and information about campus and community resources.

The Redlands Veterans Upward Bound program will have a representative available. Veterans Upward Bound is a free college-prep program federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The UCO Center for Academic Support, Resource Development, Economic Stability and Student Success (UCO CARES) will be on site. UCO CARES is a federal TRIO Educational Opportunity Center program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The mission of the program is to provide free post-secondary planning assistance to adult learners who may be potential first-generation students and/or have financial need by providing services which include financial literacy, career exploration, testing support, tutoring and assistance in applying for financial aid.

Kerry L. Mucker II, Transition Patient Advocate/Post 9/11 Transition Care and Management Program, from the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System, will be present on Wednesday to provide information to Post 9/11 veterans and service members to ensure they are receiving veteran-centered, integrated care and benefits. Veterans are screened for case management services to identify veterans who may be at risk so the VA can intervene early and provide assistance. A wide range of services is also offered for caregivers.

The CU Office of Veteran Affairs will provide general information about utilization of VA educational benefits.

Cameron University’s George D. Keathley, Department of Military Science will have representatives available, as will CU’s Student Veterans of America Chapter, which will provide information about the organization, activities and services.

The CU Office of Career Services office will be available on Wednesday, April 3, from 9 a.m. to Noon, and Thursday, April 4, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. to offer career services information including resume reviews for CU students and alumni.

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#19-048

March 26, 2019