Friday, June 21, 2024

Rick Bateman: Veterans Resource Center shows BPCC’s military commitment

by BIZ Magazine

Recent headlines remind us, once again, of our sacred duty to honor our military, veterans, and their families.

Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) is proud to stand at the forefront when it comes to serving and supporting our military and veteran community, not only in northern Louisiana but, also, as they deploy across the globe.

Whether they are veterans, airmen and women from Barksdale Air Force Base, or soldiers from Fort Polk and Camp Beauregard, we work diligently to provide degree programs and courses, both online and on-site, geared for convenience and adaptability.

Within the walls of BPCC’s state-of-the-art Veterans Resource Center (VRC), veterans and military-affiliated students can close ranks to study, mentor, and adjust to campus life. BPCC’s VRC also partners with the College’s Cavalier Care Center to offer crisis counseling and disability services on campus for those in need.

For 10 consecutive years, BPCC has earned the distinction as both a “Military Friendly” and “Military Spouse” Friendly School by Viqtory magazine; the College has been named by LA’s governor as a “Military & Veteran-Friendly Campus”, and was recently voted as a “Military Community Champion” by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. 

“It is all about developing a relationship with the student” says Susan Stakes, Program Manager of BPCC Veterans Resource Center. “Most people don’t understand the difficulties faced by these warriors as they transition through many levels of their career, deployments, readjustments to home life, and separation from service. As the Program Manager of the VRC, I make it my mission to walk our military-affiliated students through their journey so they can be successful.”

Mrs. Stakes is married to a 28-year war veteran, so this is more than just a job to her: she notes, “Getting reacclimated into society as well as adjusting to home life over and over can be difficult. We must embrace these warriors and give them a soft landing while they navigate the new normal for their lives.”

BPCC’s new initiative (and the current buzz around campus) is “Operation Graduation/Mission Complete”; veteran graduates can emboss dog tags with their name, degree program, branch of service, and date of graduation. Tags are displayed in BPCC’s VRC and serve to encourage those who are just starting their journey. This initiative is already being recognized at the national level, by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC.

We are proud that our military-affiliated students and their families put their trust in BPCC, knowing they will be well-taken care of.  This relationship is our way of saying ‘Thank you” to them for serving us; now, it is our turn to return the favor.

Dr. Rick Bateman | BPCC CHANCELLOR

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