Veterans Speak

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Student heroes tell their stories

By Carley Bine, Staff Writer
Hareg Guanche, Staff Writer
Scott Theis, Managing Editor

Among the festivities were two programs where student veterans had the opportunity to share their experiences: their time in the service, transitioning back to civilian life and the struggles that come along with each.

The first of the two was a panel of student veterans speaking about their experiences of leaving the service and heading back to school and civilian life overall. The five veterans who spoke were Heather Tabers, Tim McAnulty, Justin Anderson, Kayla Stull and Scott Logan. Former nine-and-a-half year Army veteran Anderson, who also served in Afghanistan, said about his time in the service, “It is hard, but it gives you lots of experience.”

There was a general consensus among the speakers that it was difficult to return from military service. As former Marines and current SCC nursing student Stull explains, “It takes some time to deal with the people after we come back. It is hard. Sometimes people don’t understand you. After I came back to school, the first two semesters it was very hard for me to sit [still] and attend class. I had to move somewhere…”

The second event was entitled “From Combat to College” and featured current SCC student and former Army infantryman, Jeph Jones, sharing his story.
“I wanted to be Superman,” explained Jones about why he decided to join the Army. Jones enlisted after 9/11 to try to help protect our country. He also shared his stories about basic training and friends he made during that time.

Jones went through two tours of duty while in the Army. While serving overseas, he lost his best friend who was captured, tortured and killed by Afghani insurgents. Jones also witnessed suicide bombers kill children and was hit by 11 roadside bombs, which claimed the lives of two of his other close friends.

After being honorably discharged, Jones was sent to the hospital and was diagnosed with short term memory loss, depression and PTSD, as well as extreme muscle cramps. He struggled through a point where he was having suicidal thoughts and was generally not adjusting well to civilian life. Jones, however, plodded on and decided to enroll at SCC two years after leaving the military.

Jones is majoring in criminal justice with the intention of returning to SCC to teach. He has also kept a busy extracurricular life by starting the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) with the intent of helping veterans adjust to school after exiting the service.

If you would like to learn more about Jones’s experience in the Army, read “Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death.” The book was written about his platoon’s experiences in the war.

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