Program Profile: Veterans Resource Center
The news that Santa Fe Community College has been ranked #1 Best for Vets for the second year in a row by Military Times Magazine did not surprise Jonathan Sanchez. The 25-year-old veteran says it’s been one of the best resources for him. The Santa Fean joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008 and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan – one as a gunner and another as a heavy equipment operator.
When he returned he thought everything was great, but says after the hoopla of returning subsided he said he felt lost. “My biggest emotional issue was that when I was in the military someone always told me what to do. I went to the Santa Fe Vet Center and said, ‘Tell me what do.’ And the answer was go back to school, check out the community college. So I did.” Sanchez is studying criminal justice at SFCC. He spends his summers working with one of New Mexico’s Veterans Firefighter units. He says since he’s connected with the campus Veterans Resource Center, where he assists as a student worker, he feels at home at the college.
“We all are inspired by what [Veteran’s Resource Specialist] Gregory Scargall shows us through his actions and tells us, ‘Mean what you say and say what you mean.’ We’ve learned that to be the best, you’ve got to always do your best. We want the VRC always to be a welcoming place for all veterans.” “I was once that guy who didn’t know where to start. Getting my paperwork processed was overwhelming, so it feels good to help someone else,” Sanchez says.
“We’re here for all veterans, whether to help with benefits, assist with personnel records or to get an education, and much more.” He’s eager to share information about resources in the community as well as at the college. “The tutoring center is great, and it’s free. I had been away from math while in the military, so it’s been great to get help to catch up,” he explains. When Sanchez left the military he missed the camaraderie, so he enjoys participating in SFCC’s Veterans Resource Center community outreach events – including parades, food drives, feeding the homeless and cleanup events.
“I’d like vets to know that the Veterans Resource Center is a great place to chill. It’s a place to gain composure from the stresses of school,” Sanchez says. The center also helps find counseling resources for vets.
Each year, the Military Times evaluates colleges’ approach to – and success with – serving current and former service members and their families. Criteria includes extensive data review in these categories, among others: culture, student support, academic outcomes/quality, academic policies and financial aid. SFCC salutes our student vets and the Veterans Resource Center for its important work and this well deserved recognition.
For more information, contact Gregory Scargall at 505-428-1305 or email@example.com.