Veterans aid former soldiers

IUS Horizon

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IU Southeast and Ivy Tech Community College hosted a panel discussion on March 8 aimed at addressing problems veterans face.

The panel was held at Ivy Tech’s Ogle Center and was organized by Carolyn Babione, associate professor of education, and Victor Harris, assistant director of Financial Aid at Ivy Tech Community College.

“Educating student veterans and their family members is our primary goal,” Harris said.

The panel members were made up of veterans who understand the need to help other veterans.

One veteran was Bob Bedell, who is employed by WorkOne. His list of duties include helping veterans find jobs, employment training, information services and vocational services.

Bedell said he saw the need to help veterans find work.

“Vets are a different breed of people and have a hard time making adjustments,” Bedell said. “A lot of veterans are not job ready when we meet them.”

John Penezic, a veteran and outreach worker for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, helps other veterans find a place to live.

“Twenty-six percent of the homeless in this country are vets,” Penezic said. “Thirty-three percent are combat vets.”

Other panel members included Steve Mennemeyer, family assistant specialist for the Indiana National Guard, and Mary Lou Densford, program coordinator for the Clark County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Part of Mennemeyer’s job is to routinely call family members of soldiers overseas. He checks up on the family members and lends a supporting hand when needed.

“We want our soldiers to stay focused on the mission at hand so they will come back home safe,” Mennemeyer said.

Panel members wanted to let veterans know there are people who care about them.

“We will do whatever it takes to help veterans,” Bedell said.