Club provides necessary support for AC veterans

Veterans of Amarillo College Together is among the school’s most covert clubs. The program keeps a low profile, but students say it provides necessary support for AC vets. Robert Celestino, a veteran and mass media major, said the VETACT club can help and encourage veterans. “I think that the club is a wonderful idea,” Celestino said. “I believe this because there are a number of veterans who attend AC that have the potential to benefit from it.” The VETACT club includes veterans, their spouses and their dependents. “We try to socialize, come together and do volunteer work for the veteran community. We help anyway we can,” explained Kelly Murphy, VETACT club coordinator. Murphy began her work as the veterans’ coordinator in 2007 and has assumed various roles in the registrar’s office for 17 years. She said she was well suited for the position because of her experience as a military family member and spouse. “It is good to have a club like this to help ease a recently discharged vet or an older one into college,” said David Lovejoy, a veteran and mass media major. The services offered to vets and their families include a book scholarship and two award letters granted to members based on application and qualification. “Our fundraising at the moment is going to endow those scholarships,” Murphy said. “With more fundraising, we get to branch out.” The group also helps make military holiday and observance events possible. “We participate in the Veterans Day parade followed by a welcome home event that we are involved with as well,” Murphy said. The club plans to celebrate all military branch birthdays and is open to new ideas from members. “These last few years, participation has greatly declined,” Murphy admitted. “One event we always try to do is the Veterans Day luncheon catered and free to vets and their families as well as faculty and staff.” Last year, the club was unable to organize the luncheon. Nevertheless, Murphy remains positive. “I have high hopes for the club,” she said. “It can be difficult to reach many of the veterans,” Celestino said. “Most are over the age of 21 and now lead busy lives and don’t always have time to participate in club functions. Jobs, families and location make it difficult to plan events. But that doesn’t stop the VETACT from trying.” “With more men and women getting out of the service in the next few years, VETACT should grow by leaps and bounds,” Lovejoy said. “I hope the group can continue to enrich the college life for vets.”

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