A veteran helping veterans
John Mingo spent much of the last year of his military career thinking about his future. After 12 ½ years serving active-duty in the Army and another 11 with the National Guard, he knew he wanted to stay connected with the veteran community but didn’t know where to start. When his wife became the Director of Financial Aid and they moved to Platteville, he found the opportunity he wanted.
“I became the School Certifying Official for UW-Platteville in November and I work with around 250 students each semester—about half through campus and half through the distance program,” Mingo said. "The needs of the average 20-year old new student and a 20-year old new student just returning from deployment are not necessarily going to be the same. It’s very rewarding to help these students and their families.”
Mingo operates out of the Robert and James Wright Center for Non-Traditional and Veteran students. The University has had a veteran organization on campus since the 1970s, however, the center moved to a new location in Fall 2013. Mingo said the new center has proved to be a great resource for students on campus but also has a lot to offer for distance students.
“I have a thick book of resources, but each student is a little different,” Mingo said. “There are a lot of federal resources available and every state has its own resource system. I help the students work through this. It might be helping an active-duty student connect with his or her education officer, or someone coming home from a recent deployment find resources at the county or state level.”
While Mingo’s primary duties revolve around verifying veteran’s benefits and certifying credits at the federal and state level, he has also taken the time to engage with students on a more personal level. He is active with the UW-Platteville Veteran’s Club, an organization that provides support for veterans with any amount of service. The club organizes social and academic activities throughout the year.
“The Veteran’s Club is very active, they have meetings every other week. There will be several events on campus during November to honor our veterans, that all veterans are invited to participate in," Mingo said. “Even if they couldn’t attend the meetings, there are bi-weekly e-mails and other opportunities to get involved. A distance student could also join us for homecoming activities on campus."
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