Nicholas Weidmayer has a family legacy of military service. For over a century, Nick’s family members have served in the United States Marine Corps.
“From the enlisted side to the officer side, we’ve been in every war America has been involved in, stretching back a hundred years to World War I,” said Nick, who served from 2010 to 2016 and was completed tour of duty in Afghanistan. “It’s kind of what we do: we go to school, we join the military, get what we need in education, build careers and keep moving forward. ”
As a student of Harper College, Nick is also part of a legacy of veteran students on campus. Originally from Texas, Nick, 30, lives in Rolling Meadows and enrolled in Harper’s Physical Therapy Assistant program in August. He also began working as a student employee at the college’s Veteran and Military-Related Students Center.
The center – located in Building A on the Harper’s Palatine Campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road – was established in 2017 to foster bonds among veteran students and support them in their educational journey. Open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the center allows veterans and military-related students to share information, resources and experiences while adjusting from military life to student life.
“In transition, it can be a lonely process and veterans can be isolated,” said Jesus Molina, coordinator of Harper’s Veterans Center, who is also a US Marine Corps veteran. “Peer support from others is important, as is having a place where they can ask questions related to the US Department of Veterans Affairs or their education. ”
The center offers additional services and resources:
- Dedicated lounge with office area, computer and printer
- Information on scholarships for veterans
- References to student resources, services and student life
- Referrals to local organizations helping ex-combatants
- Information on Harper’s Student Veterans Association (SVA)
- Individual defense of students
- VA Work Study Program
- Central source of communication with veteran students
- Student, university and career programming
Harper and his Veterans Center have also planned programs for Veterans Day 2021. A virtual holiday event (9 am Thursday, November 11) will honor those who have served and include conversations with staff and students from across the country. Harper who are veterans. Another virtual event at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16 will feature Lt. Col. Roman Ortega speaking about mental health as a U.S. Army veteran. For more information on both events, visit events.harpercollege.edu.
The mental health of veterans is a topic that resonates with Nick, who views the Harper’s Veterans Center as a critical resource for college student-veterans.
“In the military, we are taught to separate to eliminate human emotions. It can be difficult to defuse us, ”Nick said. “The center makes sure that there is a place that the veterans belong to. We can be tolerant and responsive to human emotions. It’s a huge tool for us to reconnect and become better members of society.
For more information on Harper’s Center for Student Veterans and Military-Connected Students, contact Jesus Molina, center coordinator, at [email protected] or call 847-925-6755.