Mike Gregoire, state VA Director John Lee and SCC President Lee Lambert (from left) after signing an agreement designating Shoreline
as a veterans friendly campus. More photos
Shoreline Community College is now officially “veterans friendly.”
“As a veteran and an Army brat, I understand the difficulty of transitioning from the team-oriented structure of the military to the less structured environment of college,” SCC President Lee Lambert told the audience before the signing. “I couldn’t be prouder of this college and the efforts to make our veterans feel welcome.”
The designation became official with the signing of a memorandum of understanding signed March 4, 2010, at the college’s 2nd Annual Veterans Roundtable. Signing the agreement were SCC President Lee Lambert, state Veterans Affairs Director John Lee and Mike Gregoire, husband of Gov. Chris Gregoire and an advocate for veterans.
“I’m very pleased to see a campus so dedicated to veterans and veterans’ issues,” Gregoire said. A Vietnam veteran, Gregoire said he was fortunate to have an older brother who’d also served there for someone to talk to about the experience.
Also a Vietnam veteran, VA Director Lee noted that the commitment of Shoreline Community College is indicative of the huge shift in public support from the Vietnam era. “I was there in 1968-69,” Lee said, adding that the reception for many returning Vietnam veterans was not supportive. “Now, whether you support the conflict or not, no one is making disparaging remarks about the men and women who are serving.”
Lee said the agreement’s designation represents more than being just friendly to veterans. “The U.S. has the best veteran’s benefits in the world,” Lee said. “They are also the most complicated.”
To help navigate those benefits, Shoreline Community College has a designated adviser, a Certifying Official, necessary for military transcript and record review as well as advising on various GI Bill benefits.
Robert Lemmons said during a panel discussion that finding that dedicated adviser was a pleasant surprise when he arrived at Shoreline to use his benefits. “They are a big help,” Lemmons said.
Panel member Emily Oelnick echoed the feeling.
“I enlisted when I was 18. I went from my mom to the Army,” Oelnick said. “When I got here, I was cut off from the support system I’d had in the Army. I didn’t know anything. The Certifying Official took care of everything, had all my paperwork ready to go.”
The agreement actually makes Shoreline a member of Partners for Veteran Supportive Campuses. As a partner campus, Shoreline will work to:
Increase awareness of veteran’s programs on- and off-campus
Provide staff members with a core set of veteran cultural competencies
Implement best practices and policies designed to foster social support, acceptance, a welcoming environment and a setting that meaningfully acknowledges the contributions of veterans
Encourage veterans to use GI Bill benefits
Help veterans succeed in higher education and training
Ensure staff and veterans have access to services through local, state and federal partners
“We want veterans to know that we are here to help them in any way,” said Kim Thompson, Director of Special Services at Shoreline Community College.