Post Classifieds

Delta opens Veterans’ Lounge

By Robert Mastroianni
On April 25, 2014

To help military veterans seek job opportunities or further their education, Delta College has unveiled the Veterans’ Lounge in the lower A-Wing.

The Veterans’ Lounge started with a discussion in the fall of 2012 between Michael Bean, Coordinator of Veteran Services, and Nolen Gertz, Philosophy Instructor. The idea was based on a short book Gertz was writing and the work Bean was doing at Veterans Services. Bean informed Gertz of the Veterans’ Lounge at Central Michigan University.

"Michael pointed me to Steve Rellinger (Veteran's Resources Director) at CMU, and they had a Veterans Center there," Gertz said. "We realized Delta could and should have a Veterans’ Center as well."

 

The Veterans’ Lounge serves as the "home away from home" for veterans as well as non-veterans.

"The idea essentially was for a place where veterans feel at home on campus but also a place where non-veterans could come and learn about the experience of war and what it meant to be a veteran," Gertz said.

 

Gertz said that the Veterans’ Lounge is essential for those who are dealing with isolation, feelings of being misunderstood, anxiety and depression.

 

"The idea for me was always that what veterans need most is a safe, secure place where they can call their own," Gertz said. "They can find out about other veterans on campus, about events in the community and about jobs in the community. The veterans don't feel the need to stay at home with these feelings."

 

According to Gertz, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is often misunderstood as being a result only from battle, however, symptoms of PTSD could be a direct result of the way a non-veteran could interact with a veteran long after the war ended.

 

"Asking a veteran, 'Did you kill anybody?' or 'How many did you kill?;' that in itself can be traumatizing (to a veteran),” Gertz said.

The Veterans’ Lounge isn't limited to those who are currently serving or have served in the military; the Lounge also benefits those who are thinking of a military career.

"The Lounge is open to anybody, regardless of their discharge status, as well as those who are even interested of joining the military," Bean said. "(They) really don't even have to be a student (at Delta College). If they want information they could pop in and talk to some of the people who have actually served to get an idea of what to expect.”12

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