WKU is being recognized for its efforts in reaching out to military veterans.
The school was ranked seventh among all four-year schools in the 2014 "Best for Vets" report published by the Military Times. WKU was praised for having the state's only Veterans Upward Bound program, as well as a tuition discount for active duty military.
WKU Military Student Services Director Tonya Archey, a 10 year Navy veteran, says schools have to work to convince some veterans that they can succeed academically after being out of the classroom for many years.
"Speaking for myself, and many of my students, we can tell you that we've been out for a long time and we lack some of the confidence--do I have what it takes to make it through college? Many wonder since they've been out of high school so long, are they going to be really rusty on a lot of the basic stuff."
The "Best for Vets" rankings factored in a school's service member enrollment, percentage of tuition covered by the G.I. Bill, and the presence of programs designed to help active duty and former military personnel.
Monday is Veteran's Day, and all across our region and nation, people are taking part in parades and ceremonies honoring those who have served in the military.
With U.S. personnel still fighting in Afghanistan, and following eight years of fighting in Iraq that formally ended in 2011, we thought we would introduce you to a young veteran from our region who is now helping other veterans create new lives after leaving the active service.
Kent Johnson joined the U.S. Marines in 2004 after graduating from high school in Columbia, Tennessee. As a member of a Marine Corp Infantry Unit, Kent served two tours in the Middle East, including a combat deployment to a town outside of Fallujah, Iraq. He got out of the service in 2008.
Here are some excerpts from our interview with Kent:
What was life like for you after you got out of the Marines?
A new veterans center planned for Hardin County will be just the fourth such facility in the state, and will offer long-term care in a region known for its close ties to the military.
State and local leaders were in Radcliff Wednesday to honor the official groundbreaking for the center that has been seven years in the making. With a planned opening in June, 2015, the project will feature a dozen ten-person homes, and will provide full nursing services to 120 veterans.
Those who helped design the Hardin County facility say it will offer residents a degree of autonomy not often found in nursing homes.
“They will be able to design their own rooms as far as how they decorate the room,” said Gilda Hill, Executive Director of the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers. “They are welcome to bring their own furniture if they like, if that will make them feel more at home. They will tell us when they want to eat breakfast, when they want to bathe, and when they want to go out of the building for visits.”
The Radcliff Veterans Center will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department.
Speaking at Wednesday’s ceremony, Governor Steve Beshear pointed out there is a great need for the kinds of services that be provided at the Radcliff Veterans Center.
Work has begun on a veteran's center planned in Hardin County even though officials are still awaiting final approval from federal officials.
Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ken Lucas told The News-Enterprise that the project in Radcliff has gotten preliminary approval and there's no indication that it won't get final approval soon.
A construction bid for the Radcliff Veterans Center nursing facility has already been awarded and excavation at the site, which is adjacent to the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central, is underway.
Lucas says the final cost of the facility is estimated at $40 million, with the state paying 35% and the federal government paying 65%.
He said it will be the fourth nursing center in Kentucky authorized specifically for veterans.
Military veterans who are renewing Kentucky driver's licenses will be able to have a special designation printed on the license. The General Assembly this year authorized the designation, and the required programming for circuit court clerks' offices was finished on Monday.
Governor Steve Beshear is announcing a statewide plan to connect returning members of the Reserve, the National Guard, and other veterans with job openings in Kentucky. The program is called "Hiring Kentucky Heroes."