By Josephine Peralta
Ka La staff writer
The Veteran Resource Center is a safe haven for veteran students at Honolulu Community College. It is a place with couches to sit on, a table to study and do homework, laptops and a printer to use, and textbooks to borrow.
Most of all it is a place to hang out with fellow veterans, according to Honolulu Community College’s current VA counselor Scott Parry.
Ralph Gallogy, former VA counselor/current counselor coordinator, adds that the resource center is run by fellow veteran students. Parry is a reservist and Gallogly is an Air Force veteran. The resource center is their way of saluting our veterans, “to let them know that they matter,” Parry said.
Gallogly said that he and Parry don’t have to check in on the maintenance of the resource center because “the guys who work in the resource center make sure it’s well kept.”
HonCC has a good relationship with the VA, Gallogly said,
“We are very thankful that we are able to get the Veteran’s Resource Center open,” he said.
Roy Vincent, a veteran student majoring in refrigeration and air conditioning, utilized the resource center in the semester of Spring 2019. Vincent walked into the resource center to use the printer to print out his homework.
“The school’s library charges you to print, while the center has a printer that prints for free,” Vincent said. It was a good experience for Vincent. When he was in the resource center, he said, “Other veterans were there just talking story.”
Larry Luis III, a work study veteran student majoring in social work, was one of the advocates who helped open up the resource center with the help of Gallogly, Parry, and former Chancellor Erika Lacro.
He said the resource center gives him a sense of purpose.
“I am very happy to work at the VRC, and the experience I have with talking to the veterans gives me a sense of being on a team or still serving,” Luis said. “We would want the students and staff know that there is a place they could come and network and talk stories.”
Typically, Honolulu Community College has between 200 and 400 veterans enrolled as students each semester, the school said.
The resource center has a VITAL counselor/social worker who comes to the resource center during the Fall and Spring semesters to help veteran students with issues that are not related to their education.
“The resource center is also a place to learn about your VA benefits,” Parry said.
He helps veteran students figure out which forms they have to fill out to get their money for tuition and books and “making the process easier even though it can get a little bit difficult.” According to Parry, they set up and created a webpage filled with information and forms so that veteran students can access it easily through https://www.honolulu.hawaii.edu/veterans.
The resource center opened in April of 2018. It is open during Fall and Spring semesters from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM in Building 5 Room 140 from Mondays to Fridays. A safe space to relax in between classes or do other things: it is open to all military veterans, active-duty members, reserved members, military dependents, and military spouses.
Picture #1: Taken by Josephine Peralta (Thursday July 25, 2019)
Couches to relax on among other things to utilize in the resource center.
Picture #2: Taken from https://www.honolulu.hawaii.edu/veterans (Sunday July 28, 2019)
Larry Luis III in Teal shirt in second row outside of the resource center.