While I was away [in the military], my contemporaries went to college, got married, had children, bought houses, and drove to work every day never noticing the ever-present guard rails. My contemporaries talked about fishing, about politics, and about their families. I talked about rifles and regimes, and it scared them. They just didn’t want to be reminded of how fragile their existence was, and I was that reminder.

“Better to not have that around . . . he’ll find a new job, and besides, he has the GI Bill so he can go back to school if he wants to,” they would say.

So it was that I began Veterans Upward Bound as a 32-year-old divorced veteran of six foreign wars, who could not solve simple fractions. That was last year.

Now, after completing the Veterans Upward Bound program’s free college prep program I am an academic junior with a 4.0 GPA.

The VUB has prepared me for college life, and for my life as a civilian . . . Veterans Upward Bound has empowered me to succeed by providing me with a renewed sense of purpose, direction, motivation and the tools to excel in the toughest environment I have yet encountered.

The Army made me who I am, the VUB has made me who I want to be.

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