Veterans’ Resource Center Opens at GCC


HONORING LOST SOLDIERS: GCC Veterans Association President Thomas Wales speaks at the service for lost soldiers May 23, in Plaza Vaquero.

Kristine Tuzon, Staff Writer

The Veterans’ Resource Center is a new upcoming facility on campus for veterans seeking help with their education process.

GCC Veterans Association club president Thomas Wales and vice president Kristel Vear organized the program this semester to assist fellow veterans.

“We’re a one-stop shop for every problem a veteran has as it relates to their educational experience,” Wales said.

Veterans who want to gain an education after the military, is funded by the G.I. Bill provided from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans receive money on their education for up to three years, depending on how many units they take.

The GCC Veterans Association recently held a fundraiser for the center on April 25 at the Wine Cave with a $20 per person fee. A $12,000 donation from an outside source was used to buy eight computers, chairs, storage lockers, cabinets, office supplies, a television and a projector as well as a refrigerator.

Located in AA-2, the Veterans’ Resource Center is a workspace as well as a resource for employment, scholarships, workshops on campus, housing, medical and off campus veteran programs. The center provides peer-to-peer support and mentoring, education counseling and tutoring for veterans who need help with their classes.

The center also provides services for the veterans’ dependents, which includes the husband, wife and/or children.

Army veteran Felipe Rebollar, 24, came back to school after serving in the military from 2008 to 2012. He checked out the center and said, “It’s a work in progress.”

Former Marine Eddie Rodriguez, 30, is a work-study student who works at the Veterans’ Resource Center every day.

“It’s a really comfortable environment for all us veterans here,” Rodriguez said. “It’s nice to have something in common with people that know what you’re talking about.”

In the future, both Wales and Vear want to see it be more centralized and localized in the center. Currently, the veteran’s adviser Charles Shumate is located in the admissions and records office and veteran’s education counselor Roxanne Dominguez is located at the San Rafael building.

Rebollar said he would like the resource center to provide an oversight service, checking the status on how each veteran is doing with their educational process.

Wales and Vear are hoping to gain a permanent staff, such as more counselors, a V.A. certifier to help with the veterans’ benefits and a dean of veteran’s affair.

“I want a place where veterans, regardless of branch, time and service, can get that sense of commemoratory that a lot of us don’t have once we get out of the service,” Wales said.

The Veterans’ Resource Center’s operational hours are Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours may vary.