Harlin: It’s Grizzly Halftime on KDY our guest on this addition of Halftime is Mark White with the Veteran’s Incentive Program at Missouri State University-West Plains and it’s a great pleasure to have him here we’ve recently had people on our halftime that are newbies, we have a lot of repeat guests but we have in recent days the opportunity to talk with new guests and that’s always fun and Mark White is here and falls into that category how are you sir?
White: I’m doin great.
Harlin: It’s a pleasure to have you here talk about what is the Veteran’s Incentive Program if you would.
White: Well right now we are working under a grant by the Department of Education and also with the Springfield Campus we are trying to encourage our veterans who are separating from the service or even in the National Guard to come in and get an education so we can better help them be prepared for the job market and get them some jobs.
Harlin: Now what sort of incentives are involved here when we talk about what incentives are?
White: Mostly funding for their education, through their services they have earned educational benefits through the VA through the government funds available if they qualify which would be our FAFSA which is also known as the Pell Grant.
Harlin: We’re talking with Mark White who is with the Veteran’s Incentive program. This is an important thing regardless of where it be but it is also even more so here in our community because of course we Harlin the 1138th here in town and we have many people who this could potentially affect.
White; Yes, that’s right. And you know with the changes that are being made with our troops right now we hope to see a huge influx of veterans into our colleges, getting that education they need to get better jobs and fulfill their dreams for the rest of their life.
Harlin: You know we’ve had plenty of examples over the course of time, we’ve had the soldiers coming home from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, down through the years, the Gulf War, etc. In some cases, we have unfortunately, in some cases, some people who have had a hard time readjusting coming back into civilian life and making that adjustment to what you would call a “regular” existence. This program is an option for them to help make that transition I would assume.
White: Yes, that’s right. That is one of my main functions as a resource person to help them with any problems they might be experiencing whether it be physical, emotional, the different kind of barriers that they’re gonna come up against due to their war time experiences getting them reintegrated into society and I hope to make that transition as smooth as possible with any resources that I can either provide myself or find outside of the university.
Harlin: The situation that some soldiers face when they come back home and try to make that transition to everyday life, it’s not the same for all because not all of these people who serve in the military have the same experience.
White: Right not everybody’s been oversees but once of the things we’re seeing a lot of is the Post Traumatic Distress Syndrome and some of the issues that follow that and we hope to help them work through that to be able to sit in the classroom and get the education that they need.
Harlin: Talking to Mark White he is with the Veteran’s Incentive Program at Missouri State University-West Plains. We’ll ask him here in just a couple of moments, again, how if you’re interested in getting more details about this how you can go about doing this. Sometimes it’s not a matter of when soldiers are making that adjustment when they’re coming home, it may not be about anything that happened to them, but I know of an example of a young man serving in the Army who lost two or three of his best friends in an incident where he had just left the place and these people who were very close to him just lost their lives, and by the grace of god had just been happened to been moved in just a very short time before that and avoided being one of those. But he loses these close friends of his and there’s not only a sense of loss but sort of a sense of guilt because he wasn’t there when they had this happen. So it doesn’t necessarily have to have directly happen to them but just being involved in situations can sometimes be a traumatic thing.
White: That’s right, and I’ll tell ya if these guys need some kind of counseling we can get it for them there are counselors out there and we try to find a way for them to get it as cheaply as possible and VA does provide some of those services as well.
Harlin: The Veteran’s Administration such a very important agency, the Veteran’s Incentive program at Missouri State University-West Plains, how long has this been in existence? Our VIP program? We started in October of 2010, we became fully operational in about May of 2011 and had our grand opening just this past October so we are up and running and ready to go.
Harlin: So this is a relatively new thing at Missouri State-West Plains?
White: Yes, our grant will fund us for three years.
Harlin: Well this is a wonderful thing, just a great thing that is available to the Veterans and I don’t think there’s enough we can do for people volunteering to give so much of their life, and risk their life to serve our country wherever it may happen to be. Now if people here this and want to find out more about this how do they go about it?
White: Well you can give us a call at the Veteran’s Center it’s 417-255-7720 if I’m not in my office please leave a message I will get back to you.
Harlin: Okay so, does this, do you only have to do this certain times of the year or can you get this information whenever you have the opportunity?
White: Just call whenever and then we’ll get you started on the process because obviously we have to get you admitted to the college and get certain forms filled out and your applications for admissions applications for benefits through the VA. A lot of paperwork to do but I am there to help that process move along.
Harlin: Mark White, thank you very much, and we appreciate you for taking the time to come in here for the first time to be on our Grizzly Halftime and all the best to you and everyone that you helped been a part in the University system that has served our country thank you very much.
White: Thank you, Harlin.
Harlin: Mark White here on our Grizzly Halftime on KDY.