Grayson College offers veteran students help

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Veterans who decide to go to college after time in the military often have a difficult time with the transition, but one local college is offering help specifically for them.

Saint Torres and Justin Martinez have at least two subjects in common.
They are disabled veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"It's extremely difficult. We over react to the smallest things that normal people think are minimal," Torres said.

Martinez is currently enrolled in Grayson College, but Torres says his symptoms are so severe he has had to drop out twice. Common side effects of PTSD are paranoia and agitation making it difficult for PTSD suffers like them to attend class.

"And if they can't sit in a classroom without wanting to look at the door every two seconds or with wondering what the teenager behind them is messing with. There's no where to for them to go. They can't graduate, they can't finish class so they get stuck in academic suspension," Martinez said.

It is not just the physical and psychological effects of PTSD that take a toll. Martinez says the stigma associated with the disorder also makes it tough to find a job, which can make paying for school all the harder.
That is why Gary Starr says a veterans affairs office was created Grayson College, to help veterans with their struggles and guide them to success.

"We're a first line contact for veterans. We're not just an education office. We're a resource center for them," Starr said "They can be put in touch with contacts outside this facility, whether it be with mental health, job placement, career service, housing."

Torres says the office is currently helping him re-enroll.

"They do help out academically and help push us in the right direction," Torres said.

Starr says right now 20 percent of Grayson College's students are veterans and says that number is expected to increase. He is hoping not only more colleges will reach out to veterans, but communities will too.