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Veterans support groups aid college students
27 July 2011

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki

BISMARCK (UTN) - While at United Tribes on July 5, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was briefed about “Freedom Defenders,” the college’s veterans group advised up by Mike Iken of the UTTC Center for Academic and Personal Counseling.

      The Secretary said that veteran’s support is vital to the success of a college student. He said veteran groups establish an informal support network with camaraderie that builds team work.

      “Veterans come from a highly structured career and they need to continue to be structured while students,” he said.

      Shinseki pointed out that all veterans have some level of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) for a period of time and that is where a support network is vital for reintegration to a community setting. If PTS turns into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is important for professional help.

      Shinseki’s message: Support groups and structure are essential for student success.

      – Sheri Baker, UTTC Associate VP Community Wellness

MEETING THE SECRETARY: Jim Bear from the Three Affiliated Tribal VA Office shakes hands with Retired U. S. Army General Eric K. Shinseki at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. Shinseki is the nation’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was honored at the conclusion of a listening session July 5, during which tribal leaders from Standing Rock, Three Affiliated and Turtle Mountain described their Veterans Affairs needs. High on their lists for tribal veterans is the need for housing, health care, jobs training and suicide prevention programs. Earlier this year, Shinseki formalized the VA’s government-to-government relationship with tribes by signing the agency’s first-ever consultation policy. Accompanying Shinseki was Stephanie Birdwell who heads up the VA’s recently created Office of Tribal Government Relations.

DENNIS J. NEUMANN United Tribes News 


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