Scholarships and Storytelling Honor UMKC Military Veterans

Photo by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communication

Associated Students of University of Missouri Host Military Appreciation Breakfast

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is home to approximately 420 veteran and veteran-connected students, but only 350 of those students take advantage of the veterans benefits offered through the university’s Registration and Records Office.

That’s according to Tracey Hurt, UMKC Veterans Administration Certifying Official. To help call attention to the available benefits, and  in honor of Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), the UMKC chapter of Associated Students of the University of Missouri hosted a breakfast Wednesday morning in the UMKC Student Union to thank UMKC veterans for their service .

The highlight of the morning was the $5,000 scholarship donation presented to UMKC Student Veterans on behalf of the Spencer C. Duncan “Make It Count” Foundation, an organization born “out of a life well-lived” in honor of Army Specialist Spencer C. Duncan, who was killed in action in 2011. Duncan Foundation president Dail Blake presented the check to the student veterans in attendance.

Military veterans who served in tours from the Vietnam War to Iraq connected with one another over a continental breakfast and shared stories about readjusting back into society after war. A common theme of discussion: post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a disorder that veteran Jay Waldo said is a result of increased activity in the amygdala – the region of the brain that helps everyday civilians process emotion and is linked to fear responses. Waldo co-founded Warriors’ Ascent, a local non-profit organization working to provide free holistic healing services to PTSD victims.

In Army veteran and junior biology student Peter Ducos’ experience, the worst part of having PTSD is not knowing you have it at all.

Ducos said it wasn’t until be began noticing symptoms within himself – like hyper-awareness and frequent panic attacks and anxiety attacks in large crowds – that he knew he had to get checked out. However, Ducos said, some veterans out there still deny their PTSD symptoms. Ducos said he frequently utilizes the Kansas City VA Medical Center, an affiliate hospital of the UMKC School of Medicine, which he credits for helping him work through cognitive behavior therapy. Ducos said it also helps that he gets to interact with other veterans every day as a veterans benefits work study.

Campus resources available for veterans include:

Veterans Benefits

Veterans benefits works with military and military-connected students to receive tuition assistance through the GI Bill.

UMKC Mind Body Connection

“The mission of the MindBody Connection is to provide a space where students can learn skills to manage academic and personal stressors.”

Student Veterans Virtual Resource Center

Student Veteran Virtual Resource Center is an online tool that connects military and military-connected students to academic support resources.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities for Veterans

“As a veteran, you may be eligible for federal, state, and institutional aid.  You should complete the FAFSA to determine your eligibility.”

UMKC At Ease Zone

“The ‘At Ease Zone’ will provide resources, referrals and a place to connect for UMKC student veterans and military connected students.”

The Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center

“The Kansas City VA, one of eight medical centers in the VA Heartland Network, is a growing health care system with focused outreach to rural veterans.”

UMKC Counseling Services

“The mission of UMKC Counseling Services is to foster the psychological well-being, personal development, and educational potential or our diverse student, faculty, staff, and campus community.”

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