Veterans who have transitioned from active duty to active course loads at Carroll Community College now have a new space for themselves.
The college held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the completion of its Veterans Resource Center.
Josiah Guthland, assistant director of admissions, hopes that the center will offer student veterans a place where they can continue to grow with their studies and succeed.
“Well, we always wanted a space on campus for our veterans, that is specifically just for them,” Guthland said. “Research done by community colleges in California showed that the propensity for success among student veterans comes not from how many classes they’re taking, or what they’re studying, but feeling some sense of camaraderie within their own veteran population.”
“It’s really important to us as a community,” Carroll Community College President James D. Ball said.
The center has been open since April but wasn’t fully finished until this summer. “It wasn’t ready. Like we didn’t have the TV up, the flags weren’t up," Guthland said. “So it was open, but the center wasn’t finished. And we were able to finish it this summer.”
Zach Carrier, who is studying mechanical engineering and served in the Army between 2012 and 2016, said he is happy to have a quiet space like this.
“It’s just a place to kind of sit down, connect with other veterans, quiet place to study, really focus on why we’re here and to study after and get those skills we need after the military and make that transition into civilian life a successful one,” he said.
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The center means a lot to Jorge Solis Fraire, who is currently trying to pursue a future in computer engineering and served in the Navy between 2007 and 2015. He thinks it will lead to success for veterans.
“Over the time, I got to meet more veterans in there [the center]. It actually means a lot to me because I run into a lot [of veterans] and we have a different sense of camaraderie within the veteran community than it is with regular civilians,” Fraire said. “It really helps bring us together and we can use each other’s knowledge and information since we have a lot of life experience, along with military experience and not to really put everything together and help us work together and be more successful.”
Carroll County Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said the center went beyond veteran camaraderie.
“It’s not just veterans taking care of veterans, it’s veterans taking care of veterans, taking care of our community,” said Rothstein, a retired U.S. Army colonel. “It’s the community outreach to our veterans and this is the way to do it.”
The center is located on the second floor of Babylon Great Hall in Room A221.
Student veteran James Long hopes that the room will lead to success in his career path.
“It’s a spot where I can come and kind of detach from the regular classroom environment," he said. “I’m looking for my degree in exercise science so I can do something else with the Pennsylvania State Police.”