REDDING, Calif.—The Shasta County Board of Supervisors presented its 2018 Veterans Awareness Week Proclamation on Nov. 13 to Simpson University Veterans Success Center Director Justin Spears in recognition of the center’s work in the community.
The proclamation states that the Veterans Success Center “honors veterans of all branches of the United States past, present and future, providing pathways of successful transition for the development of student veterans in mind, heart and transformative change through leadership, community and life-long learning.” The entire proclamation was read aloud and presented to Spears by Supervisor David Kehoe during the board’s weekly meeting in its chambers on Court Street.
Celestina Traver, Shasta County’s Veterans Service Officer and a Simpson alum, shared with the board statistics and information about veterans in the North State and commended Spears and Simpson University for their work with student veterans. The veteran population in Shasta County in 2018 is 15,300.
“Thank you,” she said. “You have made a safe place for our veterans to go and learn and study and have a place of their own.”
Spears, who was accompanied by Army veteran Joel Schmidt, a business major and treasurer of the Student Veteran Organization, shared with the supervisors some of the work the center has done since it was launched in November 2016.
“We look at what is facing vets as they transition back into the workforce,” Spears said. “We take a holistic approach –- it’s not just academics.”
The Veterans Success Center has a veterans housing program, transitional assistance program, and helps with student orientation and graduation, among other things. Each month the center hosts a community gathering as well as workshops and seminars to help veterans be more successful in the civilian world. This fall the center is serving 50 student veterans.
“I want to equip them, to help them be our leaders, to tap into what we’ve done in our military experience and use that be world changers,” said Spears, who is a Navy veteran. “That’s my heart and passion there.”
The Veterans Success Center is designed as a central place for veterans and their dependents to access educational and career-planning resources. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology equipment, the center houses a VA work-study site, the Student Veteran Organization, Simpson’s chapter of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society, academic resources, conference and study services, as well as a community space.
In September, the university held an unveiling ceremony for a new Veterans Memorial Garden on campus. The garden, which is open to the community, was the Class of 2018’s gift to the university. Traver and former California State Sen. Maurice Johannessen were the guest speakers at that ceremony.
Simpson University has been celebrating Veterans Awareness Week with a number of activities to which the public is invited. On Friday, a Veterans Day Celebration service from 10:20 to 11:20 a.m. will feature Simpson alumnus and Army Chaplain 1st Lt. Chris Peterson as guest speaker, along with appearances by the Semper Fi II Honor Detail and Jefferson Pipe Band. Representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and National Guard will attend, as well as members of the Nor-Cal Veterans Historical Association and the Veterans K9 Connections.
The service will be followed by a complimentary lunch for veterans in the university dining center at 11:20.
Learn more about Simpson University’s Veterans Success Center at simpsonu.edu/veterans.
Top photo by Holly Kiker / SU marketing. From left: Shasta County Supervisors Leonard Moty and Mary Rickert; Simpson University business major and Army veteran Joel Schmidt; Justin Spears, director of the Simpson University Veterans Success Center; Celestina Traver, Shasta County’s Veterans Service Officer; Supervisors Les Baugh, David Kehoe, and Steve Morgan.
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university will celebrate its centennial in 2021. Simpson was named as one of the 2018 Colleges of Distinction. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings; the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, A.W. Tozer Seminary, the School of Education, and the School of Graduate Professional Studies. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.