The Richmond Register

Education

September 30, 2013

Veteran finds home, hope at EKU

A community that includes 1,300 veterans

RICHMOND — Students give many reasons for enrolling at Eastern Kentucky University and continuing their eduction at the Richmond campus or one of the extended campuses.

It’s the academic preparation toward a dream job. It’s the mentoring by faculty and staff. It’s the social opportunities. It’s the support services.

For Benjamin Congleton, it’s all that and much more. “It’s therapy.”

Like many of his some 1,300 fellow military veterans enrolled at Eastern, the former Marine (2004-10) suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) stemming from two eight-month deployments in Iraq with the 3/8 India Company, often in close-quarters combat.

Upon returning to Kentucky, though, the Lexington native found himself “essentially homeless, couch-surfing,” relying on the generosity of friends for food and shelter for a couple of years.

“I was in a real low, low place,” he said.

When friends suggested he consider higher education, Congleton recoiled, initially thinking he “wasn’t smart enough.” Subsequent conversations and therapy sessions with VA counselors, however, raised his confidence and hope, and he enrolled on the Richmond campus in Fall 2012.

After all, with the G.I. Bill covering much of his college expenses, what was there to lose?

“They’re paying me to go to school, so it’s my job right now,” said Congleton, a sophomore wildlife management major and officer in the EKU VETS Club.

Although still struggling occasionally with PTSD, he freely shares his inspirational story in an effort to help others, including a recent presentation at a VAMC conference in Lexington.

Several years and thousands of miles removed now from the battlefield, are there still bad days? Sure.

“But I’m going to school with 1,300 other vets,” Congleton noted, “and if I’m having a bad day, these guys always have my back.”

It’s that support system that has helped EKU earn a No. 1 national ranking two of the past three years from Military Times EDGE Magazine in its “Best for Vets” rankings. Services for veterans and dependents, as part of Operation Veteran Success, include Veterans Bridge to College Success cohort classes, a veterans orientation course, a Vet-2-Vet sponsorship program, an active VETS Club, and a full-time campus-based VA representative to help veterans with their benefits issues, among many other services.

Text Only
Education
  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16 CMMShealthfair5.jpg Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics

    Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.

    But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.

    April 16, 2014 13 Photos

  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-10 EKUDanceTheatre1.jpg EKU Dance Theatre tonight

    Performances are 8 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.
    Tickets are available at the Whitlock Building ticket window or by calling 622-2171 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
    Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and free for children under the age of 12. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
    This semester’s concert offers a variety of dance forms including modern/contemporary, hip hop, Middle Eastern, musical theater and Latin jazz.

    April 10, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-11 ChildAbusePrevPinwheels.jpg Pinwheels for prevention

    Madison Central High School CIA, or Central in Action club, placed 473 silver and blue pinwheels in the flower beds in front of the school, each representing a substantiated child abuse case reported in Madison County in 2013 to show support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-10 TibetanMonks1.jpg Tibetan monks provide week of cultural experiences

    Berea College has had a special relationship with the Tibetan government-in-exile dating back to the 1990s. That is when the late John Stephenson, then Berea’s president, befriended the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, according to Jeff Richey, chair of Asian Studies at the college.

    April 10, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-10 RedCedar4.jpg Open for learning

    While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

    April 9, 2014 13 Photos

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results