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Resource Center Gives Veterans a Hand-Up

The New Mexican flag sitting in Northern’s new Veteran’s Resource Center has come a long way, from flying in Iraq to waving over the nation’s Capital.

The Center’s coordinator Ron Gallegos brought the flag back from his last tour in Iraq, the most recent part of more than 30 years of military service in the Marine Corps.

Gallegos knows about veterans. A Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, he has served in the Philippines, in Operation Desert Storm, and two full tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says the Center is key in helping veterans and their families get back to school and back to work.

“There’s not much information out there. Veterans have to do a lot on their own without a resource like this,” Gallegos said. “Without these benefits, many veterans and their families wouldn’t even be able to come to college.”

The VRC serves both Northern students and the community at large and connects clients to the services they need. For students, this means academic and advisement support as well as financial aid, but the center also offers information about everything from rehabilitation therapy and healthcare to job placement and small business loans.

The center was established thanks to a bill passed by the state legislature last year providing $125,000 in funding. Northern currently serves more than 80 student veterans and dependents and there are upwards of 2,600 in Rio Arriba County alone.

New Mexico is also home to one of the largest proportions of Native American and Hispanic Veterans in the nation.

In addition to linking community members with services, Gallegos says that the center is a welcoming place where veterans can come to study, to ask for help or just to talk with someone who has been in their shoes.

“The greatest reward is just being able to offer support,” he said. “I’ve been there, and I know how much it’s appreciated.”

The Veteran’s Resource Center is located in AD and is open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm. Call (505) 747-5499 for more information or visit www.nnmc.edu.

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Northern offers over 50 bachelor's, associate and certificate programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math); Nursing and Health Sciences; Liberal Arts and Humanities; Arts, Film & Media; Business Administration; Teacher Education and Technical Trades.
Northern New Mexico College is the most affordable 4-year college in the Southwestern US. Choose us for our value, our quality degree and continuing education programs in diverse areas of study, and our experienced faculty. We provide students with unique opportunities for academic, personal, and professional growth, small class sizes, personalized attention, and strong hands-on experiences from day one.
The Northern Foundation remains committed to stimulate leadership, promote equity, and grow resources and philanthropy in the Española Valley and surrounding rural areas. Over the past twenty years, we have granted $1.3 million to support over 1,250 NNMC students.