BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Many veterans come home after serving to fight their own battles adjusting to civilian life.
At Bakersfield College, some student veterans rely on services such as the food pantry or resources like free printing from the veteran resource center.
Tuesday the center hosted a school supply drive to replenish items they give to these students.
Motivation can come from so many different places, for navy vet and BC student Nicholas Lane, it’s his 11-month-old daughter. He said the transition from the service to the classroom has been hard and expensive, but he is doing his best for her.
“That was my drive to get my degree and use my GI Bill to support her and get a better paying career,” said Nicholas Lane, Navy veteran, and Bakersfield College student.
Lane said the GI Bill that he and many of the student veterans use to get help paying for school only covers so much and requires students to attend class in person.
“When you have to be in person, it means that we really can’t take a lot of these full-time jobs, especially if you have a family. So, a lot of us are going to school and working part-time,” said Lane.
In his case, lane works two part-time jobs and has been attending school for a year and a half.
“That is so that my wife can be home with our kid cause right now she is still an infant. So, between the GI Bill and juggling two part-time jobs, that is where we make ends meet,” said Lane.
One of the jobs is working at the resource center and he sees his story reflected in them as well.
“A lot of these vets haven’t been to school in maybe 10 years, 12 years, 15 years, and so they walk into school, and they aren’t even entirely sure what they needed,” said Lane.
Donations like these will go to the about 450 veteran students at Bakersfield College, in hopes school supplies are just one less thing they have to worry about.
Faculty members like Nicolette Castruita often work with these students and said aside from adjusting to civilian life and affording textbooks and supplies, they do face other challenges.
“Accessibility, being able to access the classes programs, getting to campus, getting from campus,” said Castruita.
Fellow veterans know that challenge all too well and many showed up with loads of supplies and said it is their turn to give back.
One of those veterans who has their back and donated is Ben Patten who brought along his friends from the Armed Forces Support Riders.
“Not everybody is as fortunate as some of us and especially students, students are oftentimes struggling, and this is a big big deal,” said Ben Patten, veteran and founder of Armed Forces Support Riders.
Everyone who came out spoke about the importance of giving back to those who have served this country and said there is no better way to end a month honoring veterans.