Veterans on the LCU campus have joined together to create LCU Veterans of Faith.
Nick Simmons, who attended LCU in 2005 before enlisting in the Army at the age of 21, returned to LCU in Fall 2014. Simmons, sensing a gap between him and the younger students, went in search for a veteran’s group on campus. That’s when he came in contact with Registrar and Veterans Affairs Certification Officer, Janice Stone.
“Janice Stone told me there was nothing on campus, but she would like to see something,” Simmons said.
Their meeting prompted Stone to put Simmons in contact with Dusty Fleming, a fellow student and veteran on campus. The two men then reached out to the 25 veterans on campus and addressed Josh Stephens about the group. Thus began the process of forming the organization, with their biggest challenge being the formation of the group’s constitution.
“I had no experience, so I took a couple of other veteran organization constitutions and picked the different parts that I liked and contributed well to our organization,” Simmons said.
From there, Simmons sought out assistant professor James Shewan and Director of Disability Services, Charles Webb, for sponsorship. With the help of sponsors and group officers, the constitution was formed.
“Once we had that done, everything else fell in line,” Simmons said.
The group introduced itself to the LCU campus during a special Veterans Day chapel on Nov. 11.
One of the main goals of the Veterans of Faith is to bring student veterans together so that each one knows they are not alone. Veterans who return from service often suffer from PTSD and a byproduct of that is loneliness. In reference to the loneliness, Simmons said, "we need to make sure that doesn't happen."
Simmons also said that the group hopes to reach out to other veterans in the community. They are hoping to aide disabled veterans, elderly veterans, and veteran families. The organization is committed to completing service projects each semester.
When asked about the greatest benefit of the organization, many of the members agreed that the group gives them a sense of comradery on campus. One member added that the group creates more recognition of the military presence on campus and helps students have a better understanding of the military.
Janice Stone said that she is proud of Simmons’ efforts with the organization.
“I’m excited to have the group. They can support one another as they continue their education. The campus needed more resources for vets,” Stone said.
Members of Veterans of Faith include:
Nick Simmons (President/Army)
Dusty Fleming (Vice President/Army)
Joseph McWhirter (Secretary/Army)
Stephen Harrison (Treasurer/Army)
William Coen (Army)
Jay Cole (Army)
Adolfo Cuevas (Marines)
Angel Flores (Marines/Army)
Leon Spence (Navy)
Cecelia Torrez (Army)
James Shewan (Army retired)
Janice Stone (VA Liaison)
Charles Webb (Air Force retired)