When Dale Mullin returned from fighting in the Vietnam War, he felt like there weren’t many resources to help him transition into civilian life.
The struggle he faced is what inspired him to found Wounded Warriors of Collier County, a nonprofit organization serving post-9/11 veterans. The organization presented a check for $25,000 to Hodges University’s veterans scholarship program at a ceremony Tuesday.
Mullin explained that although the Veterans Benefits Administration helps cover tuition costs for student veterans, there are many other expenses they may need help with.
“Veterans have different kinds of needs than your normal students coming right out of high school,” he said. “Most have families and children. They have more financial responsibilities.”
Veterans who aren’t supporting families still need help covering costs for books, housing and food, he noted.
“This is a great way we could help bridge that so they could continue to go to school and improve their marketability.”
Hodges sophomore Will Blair fought in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Air Force for more than 10 years and attended the check presentation ceremony.
He said Hodges’ veterans program has provided him with the support he needs to meet his education and career goals. He recently made the dean’s list for the first time.
“There really isn’t a lot for us veterans besides our training,” he said. “But our training doesn’t get us very far anymore. You need a degree.”
Blair is planning on majoring in business administration or accounting.
Wounded Warriors made a donation of the same amount to Hodges University’s veterans program last year. About 250 veterans attend the university.
Hodges University President Donald Wortham became emotional while speaking at the check presentation.
“You can really choke up on these kinds of words, because these men and women have given their lives in support of our nation,” he said. “And we should all be touched by that. This honor is their honor.”
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View article on Naples Daily News here: Hodges Receives Check for $25,0000 Toward Veteran Scholarships