Breakfast shines light on student veterans

There are currently 420 student veterans and service members enrolled at the university. The Associated Students of University of Missouri (ASUM) hosted a breakfast Wednesday morning to honor them.

The event, held in the Student Union, united veteran and military organizations from around the Kansas City area to show appreciation and provide support to the UMKC veteran community.

The breakfast kicked off with a $5,000 donation presented to UMKC student veterans on behalf of the Spencer C. Duncan “Make It Count” Foundation. The Foundation also donated an additional $500 to the At Ease Zone, an on-campus veteran’s organization, to help renovate their facilities.

According to Kathy Hale, a veterans certifying official with the Registration and Records Office, the university demonstrates veteran support in many ways.

“UMKC just recently approved to wave the application fee for veterans wishing to apply to the university, and there are a number of other benefits available, including a reduced rate for the metro rail,” said Hale.

Representatives from the Vet Center, which provides readjustment counseling for combat veterans, military sexual trauma counseling and bereavement counseling also attended. Students may have caught a glimpse of the large white “Vet Mobile,” the Vet Center’s mobile command center, parked along the north entrance of the Student Union.

The breakfast brought much-needed attention to the struggles and anxiety veterans face once they return back home. Post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, is the most common mental health problem afflicting war veterans, with little being done to combat the problem.

PTSD affected one in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The disease often causes extreme anxiety and depression, and has led a number of veterans to take their own lives.

One student veteran, who wished to remain anonymous, illuminated the crisis when he shared with fellow veterans that four members of his unit committed suicide in just the past two months. The student served as the squad leader of his unit and served two tours in Iraq.

According to senior Skyler Allen, who helped plan the event, UMKC wants to make this student and many others like him feel safe and supported on campus.

“The breakfast was just one step in [this] process,” Allen said. “We wanted to do something special to honor [veterans].”

 

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