News Archive

Gulf War veterans attending HCTC

Don Smith, Dr. Steve Greiner, Denny Owens HCTC President Dr. Steve Greiner visited with Gulf War veterans Don Smith (on left) and Denny Owens (on right). The veterans are attending HCTC and they encourage other veterans to enroll in college.

Don Smith and Denny Owens were best friends while attending Cordia High School, and now, after both serving during the Gulf War, at ages 44 and 45, they are best friends attending HCTC.

The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program is funding their dreams for Smith s goal to become a pre-school teacher and Owens plan to become a nurse.

Don said his son, Steven Smith, graduated in May 2012 from HCTC the first in his family to ever receive a college degree. That is what did it for me. I enrolled for the next semester.

HCTC helps veterans acquire credentials and receive employment support. HCTC wants to help make the transition from boots to books to a job as easy as possible for them. HCTC s Bobby Collins, who assists veterans, noted that there is a wide variety of incentives for veterans to enroll, based on their service. We will work with veterans of any war to help get them in the door, so they can be placed in the workforce, Collins noted.

I ve passed up the chance to get a college education before, Don Smith said. When Owens learned about the Veterans program, he talked to Smith about enrolling. Now they keep each other motivated, noting they never miss class, check that homework is done, and work hard at keeping high grades.

Owens was in the Gulf War from August 2, 1991 to March 14, 1992 serving in Saudi Arabia. While Smith never set foot overseas, he values his military training and believes that experience makes him a better student today.

Both Smith and Owens recommend other veterans to enroll in college. I was told I was too old to learn, but that s not the case, Owens said. Today you couldn t knock me out of these classes, Smith added.

Any veteran interested in learning about benefits of enrolling at HCTC can contact Bobby.Collins@kctcs.edu at (606) 487-3059 or visit the web site www.va.gov.