SEMO praised for support of military members, veterans

For about three decades ó since the original Gulf War of the early 1990s ó Americans have been consistent and enthusiastic in their support for the men and women who serve in our nationís military. As Vietnam veterans know, that wasnít always the case, but even the veterans of that controversial war have gotten their due respect as time has passed. Americans by and large recognize the sacrifices our military troops make and appreciate their service.

What does it mean to support our troops and veterans? For some, itís attending a Veterans Day parade. For others, itís putting a bumper sticker on their vehicle. On countless occasions here and abroad, itís picking up a lunch check for a table of troops.

Closer to home and significantly more involved, Southeast Missouri State University has shown its military support and has the hardware to prove it.

Military Friendly, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, has named Southeast one of the nationís top 10 institutions of higher learning in supporting military members and veterans, bestowing its highest Gold rating on the university for 2021. Rankings of the schools include six categories: academic policies and compliance, military student support and retention, graduation and career outcomes, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, and financial aid and loan repayment.

Southeastís Office of Military and Veteran Services is central to the universityís outreach, and military and veterans services officer Amanda Woods leads the officeís dedicated and knowledgeable team.

ďThis award highlights the dedication and effort that Southeast and the Office of Military and Veteran Services have in serving and supporting our military-affiliated students,Ē Woods said in February. ďI feel we go above and beyond to ensure our students have whatever they need to be successful, not just while at Southeast but after graduation and with successful career placements.Ē

Navigating a universityís complex procedures and documentation isnít easy for any student, and those tasks may be more difficult for military troops who suffer from physical and/or mental effects of combat. Having a group of people in their corner can make the difference between a military member having a successful university experience or falling through the educational cracks.

Southeastís military community is fortunate to have Woods and the staff of the universityís Office of Military and Veteran Services ready to help.