Deborah Cooper, Staff Reporter
The Vet Success on Campus (VSOC) program for the anticipated 1,250 veterans attending CNM this fall is full of multiple support programs, according to Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Esmerejildo Romero.
Romero is a retired Senior Chief of the U.S. Navy, and during his 27 years of service, he served three tours in the Persian Gulf, but has now settled down to be of service to the veterans at CNM campuses.
“VSOC helps not only those who have served in the military with their transition into higher education, but also helps retired veterans wanting to return to school,” Romero said.
Kimberly Hayes, Computer Information Systems major and United States Coast Guard veteran said she has utilized the housing programs offered by VSOC.
“It took away the uncertainty of not having a place to stay. The combination of the staff and the facility were very helpful and made me more confident in continuing my education,” Hayes said.
With offices on Main campus and Montoya campus, the program gives veterans access to all potential resources, Romero said.
“Connecting veterans to medical and social services at the VA hospital are just part of our services,” Romero said.
The program assists homeless veterans by connecting them to obtain housing through various outlets such as the Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA), The Veteran Integration Center (VIC), The Henderson House (homeless shelter for women) and Goodwill, he said. Honorably discharged veterans can get help with their rent and receive assistance concerning housing, he said.
“Peer-to-peer counseling and referral services are also provided to veterans,” Romero said.
VetSuccess counselors help resolve any problems that could potentially interfere with a veteran’s educational program, which includes assisting with disability requirements, he said.
“I still do Disability Transition Assistance, (DTAP) over at the Air Force Base where service men and women are also CNM students,” Romero said.
The new DTAP program, which started about three months ago, is a week long program that includes writing resumes and creating a transition plan to connect service personnel with the civilian community, he said.
According to Romero’s office, the Chapter 31 program is a counseling program that helps veterans in assessing their careers and this program includes active duty members, the National Guard and all other veterans.
“The Chapters programs are from Chapter 30 through 35. There are also Chapters 1606 and 1607, a Fry Scholarship and Vietnam Veterans Scholarship program to help veterans, which are all non-taxable,” he said.
Romero also mentioned the importance of the Veteran’s Club on campus, run by President Gerald Maytea, and said the club is always looking for new members.
“We had a recent meeting and we’re looking for veterans to join this fall as we’re trying to present something for November 11(Veteran’s Day) for veterans and the CNM community,” Romero said.
For more information about VSOC programs or the Veteran’s Club contact Romero at 224-3265, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deborah Cooper, Staff Reporter