SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 17, 2014

Salem State to open 'home' for veterans

(Continued)

The veterans are not like other students, officials said. Most are older and have gone through life experiences other students have not seen, and may not be able to imagine. They are coming from military worlds of uniforms, discipline and order, and entering a college world of independence and more personal freedom.

As a result, the veterans likely have more in common with each other than with the student sitting in front of them in a business class.

“The relationships you have in the military are on such a different level ...” said Max Theriault, 25, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Persian Gulf. “While I didn’t serve with (other Salem State veterans), there are still so many threads that are similar.”

As simple as the concept sounds, a Veterans Resource Center could help with what may be a difficult transition from military to civilian life. It could mean the difference between staying in school or dropping out, with getting help — whether course advice, housing suggestions or mental health counseling — or being left alone to cope.

“This is somewhere you can go to and know you belong,” said Theriault, who is vice president of the student organization. “Hopefully, that will help with retention for any veteran ...”

The veterans center is founded on a simple concept.

“Veterans listen to other veterans,” Ohannesian said.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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