Return The Favor: Helping veterans go back to school

CARLISLE, Pa., (WHTM) – It can be hard for veterans who get out of the service and decide to head back to school. A Midstate group hopes to help with that. They’re already off to a good start.

Rick Coplen chairs the Rotary Veterans Initiative. Based in Carlisle, its mission is to help vets succeed by supporting them in education, training, and job search opportunities. The group officially started earlier this year but was born out of other programs that helped vets. However, the group wanted to broaden their mission and focus on those men and women trying to get back into school.

Just this month, they gave Penn State Harrisburg $25,000. That money will be used to fund six scholarships and to provide textbooks for more than 30 student veterans. The group has also given money to HACC and Central Penn College, $60,000 dollars in all. Coplen says every bit helps.

“We’ve sat down with the Penn State students for over an hour,” he said. “We got to hear, for example, how many of them have children. They have their own families. They’re working a separate job. Obviously, they’re balancing all those challenges. Also, in many cases, they’re transferring out of the only life they knew. Many of them went directly into the military out of high school, so they’re transitioning into something new.”

That’s the bottom line for the Rotary Veterans Initiative: giving those who gave so much for our country a helping hand.

Coplen says even though there are challenges, he knows they’ll succeed.

“We believe in you, we believe in your future, and we’re investing in you,” Coplen said, “and we’re very confident we’re going to lift yourselves and you will continue to improve your job employability and your earning power to help your family, and ultimately help your community and even the United States of America.”

You can help the Rotary Veterans Initiative this summer just by hitting the green. The organization is hosting a golf tournament fundraiser at the Carlisle Barracks Golf Course. It’s July 28, starting at 1 p.m.

It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year. They’re hoping to raise $100,000. You can sign up to play, or you can simply give a donation.

To make a donation:

Golf Tournament:

Rotary Veterans Initiative
PO Box 303
Carlisle, PA 17013

Bob Egley at 717-979-2080