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LCU criminal justice major and Army veteran, Nick Simmons, is making a difference for student veterans on the LCU campus. Simmons, who previously attended LCU in 2005 before enlisting in the Army at 21, spearheaded the project that would create the newly founded LCU Veterans of Faith.
After serving the Army as an infantryman and being deployed twice, both times to Afghanistan, Simmons returned to Texas with his wife, where they both attended South Plains College. However, Simmons soon made the choice to return to LCU in 2014. While he was greeted with fond memories upon his return, Simmons said he sensed a gap between him and other students.
"So here I was, going back to a school full of so many wonderful memories, but none of the people that I shared those memories with. I was around a completely new generation of students. I didn't have any common interests with them, so I spent most of my time between classes thinking about the old times and missing my past friends. It was then that I wondered if there was a veteran organization on campus that I could become a part of."
When Simmons learned that there wasn’t an organization for veterans on campus, he reached out to Registrar and Veterans Affairs Certification Officer, Janice Stone. With the help of Stone, Simmons partnered with fellow student veteran, Dusty Fleming, to begin the process of bringing a veterans organization on campus to life. The two men reached out to veteran faculty members, such as professor James Shewan and director of Disability Services Charles Webb, and gained the sponsorship they needed.
The Veterans of Faith introduced themselves to campus during Veterans Day chapel on Nov. 11, 2015. Simmons serves as the president of the organization while Fleming serves as the vice president. The organization currently has ten members, but has reached out to the 25 veterans on the LCU campus. The group hopes to reach beyond LCU by connecting with veterans in the Lubbock community and through community service.
When asked about the main goals of forming the Veterans of Faith, Simmons replied, "I want these other vets to know they are not alone on this campus. We’re here to help and support each other. Coming back from combat leaves all of us with scars, even if they’re not visible. Some of those scars still hurt. We all developed one thing while in the service. It was a sense of camaraderie. Once you get out, at times it feels like losing a loved one. So, I want for all of us to continue, in some way, those attachments we had to one another while serving."