Community leaders, veterans, educators and dozens of local residents came together on Thursday, Nov. 9 to celebrate the grand opening of the Veterans Resource Center at Clovis Community College.
“People go through the most horrendous situations, where people are dying and people are getting shot and getting wounded. Our veterans have to have a safe place when they come back. This center is for them,” said Paul Parnell, State Center Community College District Chancellor. “I’m so proud of us for doing this for our veterans that are coming back. Even if they didn’t have traumatic experiences, they are still entitled – because of their service – to have our gratitude.”
Nathan Magsig, County of Fresno Supervisor, also spoke at the grand opening. Magsig said he often thinks about the sacrifice veterans have made to help citizens enjoy freedom.
“I look at this building and what this means to our veterans and how many veterans have served our country and how many veterans attend this particular college. A little over one (1) percent of the population serves in the military,” Magsig said. “That one percent provides for the freedom that all of us get to enjoy. It’s critical for us, not only as a government, but as people to never forget what veterans have done and the sacrifices they have made.”
CCC President Dr. Lori Bennett said the Veterans Resource Center was made possible with help from the community.
“We are so proud of our new center. Many of you played a role in helping us develop this center,” Bennett said. “We want to thank our veterans too, who helped us with their insight, their input on what they wanted this room to look like.”
The center, which includes a study area, computers, free printing services, and various other resources, is designed to serve three main purposes. The first is to provide a comfortable place for veteran students.
“Whether they are here attending college for the first time or re-entering, we want a place where they can study, they can relax, they can talk with each other,” Bennett said. “We hope that this place we have built will provide them with a feeling of community.”
Second, the center will provide academic services for veteran-students.
“It creates a space for the college to provide services such as counseling, registration and other very important student support services designed for student-veterans,” Bennett said.
Third, community organizations will be able to use the center to connect with veterans.
The opening of the center also comes just in time as Clovis Community College was recently granted approval from the State Approving Agency to certify GI Bill benefits, which means veteran-students can easily access and utilize their GI Bill benefits to pursue their educational goals at CCC.
“This resource center will act as a point of contact for community partners who provide a variety of services to veterans. It’s a place to share information, come meet students,” Bennett said. “Together, we want to help our students learn about the benefits that are available to them. We truly value our veterans, not only for their military service, but because we know what they will do as leaders in our community.”