Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

Going through the 12-Step process takes courage. Being vulnerable to talk about this journey with students is even more scarier. But it’s a story Army veteran William Ballard is willing to share to help in his recovery and help others.

Ballard visited Northwest Vista College during the Veterans Week activities from April 24 to April 28. Ballard, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army and National Guard, found himself like many vets after military – learning how to put life back together. Not only did he have PTSD, but wound up in a VA rehab hospital for drug addiction after he was discharged from the Army.

“When I was in the military I was helping soldiers. Once that was taken away, my life was purposeless,” Ballard said, who served twice in Iraq and once in Korea.

Now enrolled in a master’s social work program at Texas A&M Commerce and sober for four years, Ballard is eventually trying to find his way back to helping soldiers and vets. He said when counselors were trying to help him, he immediately put up a barrier because he would think to himself, when is the last time you got shot at?

Northwest Vista’s Vet to Vet program hosted a weeklong event of activities to help veterans with valuable resources, such as providing a home loan and credit repair seminar by Veterans United; bringing in guest speakers to help veterans transition out of military life; and cookouts for mingling and networking.

With the Vet to Vet program, faculty and staff veterans represent different areas of the college to provide support services from advising, counseling, tutoring to mentoring. Vet to Vet also sponsors a Veterans Lounge and Resource Center on the second floor of Pecan Hall – one of the only veterans lounges in the Alamo Colleges.

Additionally, last year, the NVC Veterans Affairs Office added more advisors that can work individually with veterans and their needs. Last fall semester, NVC had almost 1,700 students using some type of VA or military education benefits.

Veterans can also utilize the V2V portal in NVC’s OrgSync for information about the program and get career and transfer resources and scholarships.

2 comments on “Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

  • Williams family is extremely proud of him not only for his years of service to his country but that he has continued to serve in another capacity as a civilian. It’s unfortunate our veterans go through all they do but thank God for those like Willie who choose to use their experience to try to help!!!

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