posted on March 19, 2013 16:27
Joshua Kosola, University Center-Rapid City Vets Club president, talks about the vision behind the new Veterans Resource Center. Gov. Dennis Daugaard was among several dignitaries present at the recent ribbon cutting.
UCRC, which includes students from all six of the state’s Regental universities, has nearly 15 percent of its student body affiliated with the military. The new Veterans Resource Center creates more recognition of veterans and provides resources for veterans and their families.
The “badges of honor” are attached to the wall above the door and an American Flag is visible through the window of the welcoming room. The room, though small, has a larger purpose.
“It isn’t the physical space that is needed. It is the knowledge that is imparted by the veterans who know the services that are available … and the connections they can create,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Daugaard was just one of many dignitaries present at the recent ribbon cutting for the University Center- Rapid City (UCRC) Veterans Resource Center. The Veterans Resources Center began as a vision of a couple of student veterans who saw a need, and UCRC administrators who found space to fulfill that need.
“Often times when the ceremonies are over and the flags get put away the veterans get forgotten about again. We know what we did at the end of each day but not everyone else does,” said Joshua Kosola, UCRC Vets Club president. Kosola, a BHSU student majoring in business administration human resource management, is a veteran of the Iraq War. He noted the Veterans Center would create more recognition of veterans and provide resources for veterans and their families.
UCRC, which includes students from all six of the state’s Regental universities, has nearly 15 percent of its student body affiliated with the military.
The idea for the Vets Club began last fall when Kosola and BHSU student Mark Quasney, vice president of the Vets Club, began talking during math class and discovered they were both veterans. They began talking about ways to help veterans like themselves.
“There a lot of programs out there but we didn’t know what they were,” said Kosola. The two thought they could provide a place for student veterans to learn what is available to them and also to provide a support system.
“We want to make sure that every veteran has every opportunity to succeed,” said Kosola.
BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp said it is crucial for veterans.
“It is not just the deployment that is the sacrifice,” she said. “It is how you are changed after you come home, and the ongoing needs and the importance of having that support and that ability to go to someone when you have questions.”
Gov. Daugaard praised the students and administrators for creating the center and said he believes a veterans center should be a staple on every university campus to give back to the men and women who helped provide us with the greatest accomplishment in the last 100 years – the spread of freedom throughout the world.
Other dignitaries at the ribbon cutting included: Jerry Wright, commander VFW Post #1273; Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander, Ellsworth Air Force Base; Maj. Gen. Timothy Reisch, adjutant general South Dakota National Guard; and South Dakota Board of Regents President Kathryn Johnson.
For more information about the Veterans Resource Center, contact Susie Leahy at (605) 718-4142 or Susie.Leahy@BHSU.edu