Mark White Interview Text


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 an opportunity to talk with new guests and that’s always fun and Mark White is here and falls into that category. How are you today sir?

White: I’m doing great.

Harlin: It’s a pleasure to have you here today. Talk about what is the Veteran’s Incentive Program,.

White: Well, right now we are working under a grant given to us through 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 that we can better--or that we can 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: Well, mostly funding for their education. You know, they through their services they have earned educational benefits through the VA and there is also other 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. Of course, this is an important thing regardless of where it be but it is also probably even more so here in our community because, of course, we  have the, we host 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 that they need to get the better jobs and to fulfill the 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, people who have had a hard time readjusting or getting 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 is right. That is one of my main functions as a resource person to help them with any problems that they might be experiencing, whether it be, you know, physical, emotional, the different kind of barriers that they’re gonna come up against due to their, you know, 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 one 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're--and hope to help them work through that, you know, 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 can--but I know of an example of a young man serving in the Army, who lost three--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 lost their lives, and he, just by the grace of God, happened to have 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, sort of a sense of guilt also because he wasn’t there, you know, when they had this happen. So, there's--it doesn’t have to necessarily have happened directly to them but just being involved in situations can sometimes be a really tough thing--a traumatic thing can't it?

White: That’s right, Harlin and I’ll tell ya, you know, 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 also 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?

White: Our VIP program?

Harlin: Yes.

White: Oh, 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, it's very new. 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 you know I don’t think there’s enough we can do for people that are 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 hear this and want to find out more about this how do they go about it?

White: Well, if you'll 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, this is . . . does this go by. . do you only have to do this certain times of the year or can you get this information whenever you have the opportunity?

White: Yeah, just call whenever and then we’ll get you started on the process and because obviously we first have to get you admitted to the college and get certain forms filled out and your applications for admissions, applications for the 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 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've helped become 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.