Veterans Club unites former military members


R. Jay Wilkinson, senior marketing major and President of the Kent State Veteran’s Club (right) laughs with Catherine Hofer (left), senior nursing major who just returned from active duty on Valentine’s Day, at the Kent VFW on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014.

Mary Booth

The Veterans Club at Kent State came back to the main campus in 2009 for all former military troops to join.

Joshua Rider, the adviser for the Veterans Club and the interim director for the Center for Adult and Veteran Services, said the club is always looking for previously enlisted men and women to take part in their festivities, the officers and members of the club meet at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, or VFW, in Kent every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“They’re very active on campus right now,” Rider said. “There’s about 30 members in the club and when activities, events or parties come up, they all try to get involved.”

Rider said that when it gets closer to spring the members have plans to hold two events to raise money for the club and support local veterans.

Senior marketing major Ronald Wilkinson was elected president of the club last fall. Wilkinson said the Veterans Club is a great way to network and bond with people who have gone through some of the same experiences.

“We’re on a different level of understanding with one another,” Wilkinson said. “Most of us have similar experiences that we’ve gone through and everyone can really relate.”

The members of the club aid in steering the recently returned veterans in the right direction.

“The people there are the most genuine, nicest people you will ever meet in your life,” he said. “And when you get to know them you can’t help but want to go back.”

Wilkinson said he is finally in a position where he can do good deeds and he has started by setting up the future veterans at Kent State for success.

“I’ve already gone through my own thing these last few years. I’ve already accepted everything that happened to me overseas and what not,” he said. “But I know there are guys where I was four or five years ago, when I was just not with it. And since I know exactly what helped me, I may be able to help them.”

William Wilson, sophomore justice studies and criminology major, has been a member of the Veterans Club since 2012 and said the club is a great opportunity to go out and have fun with friends.

“We really just try to make it fun,” Wilson said. “We try and go do things together. We’ve gone to Browns games, Indians games, ski trips, we have drinks together. We want to get the members of the club involved in any way we can.”

He said the club is a great opportunity for nontraditional students to get to meet other people in the area.

“Clubs are more important now than they ever were in the past. Just the nature of how much more people travel now, move away and just globalization in general. We need clubs like the Veterans Club to help keep people together.” Wilson said.

It is also important because it’s a place for veterans to help each other out and build a sense of camaraderie.

“The main thing is we all want to look out for each other,” he said. “We know the difficulties that a lot of veterans face, so we just want to make sure they are covered and taken care of.”

Mary Booth is the military and veterans reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].