Today@Sam Article

VRC Honored For Decade-long Partnership

June 13, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins

VRC Main

Sam Houston State University’s Veterans Resource Center (VRC) received a 10-year certificate and a framed flag that had flown over the United States Capitol Building from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Thursday commemorating their decade-long partnership.

“We work together in order to support our students and our veterans.” said Fernando Chavez, director of the VRC. “We started in the Estill Building on the bottom floor with just two staff members and a student worker.”

Chavez began the ceremony by speaking to attendees about the VRC’s journey at SHSU and all of the work they have been able to accomplish since their partnership with the VA began in 2012. Before introducing VetSuccess on-campus counselor Roberta Ardoin, he shared a story about a former Army veteran student who utilized the center’s resources to work through a traumatic experience in their life.

“Roberta and I got to know him really well and learned, when he was coming to campus, he had a trigger,” Chavez said. “He had reached out to me and knew he had a safe place he could go in the VRC, and was able to speak with Roberta.”

Ardoin joined the team in 2012 at the beginning of the partnership and also spoke on her personal journey with the center.

“Some things have stayed the same, some things have changed. Since fall of 2012, the VRC has moved more than once and been remodeled more than once,” Ardoin said. “But a few things are the same, including the mission of the Veterans Resource Center. As a look back on the last decade and the changes that have come about, I’m proud of the work and the progress that’s been done. To the Department of VA and my VRE leadership, thank you for considering the impact that a trained, vocational rehab counselor can have on service delivery to veterans.”

In a speech mixed with humor and emotion, Ardoin also thanked those who have played a pivotal role in the last decade’s success, including SHSU’s Enrollment Success leadership.

“What innovation,” Ardoin said. “It is important to have risk takers and consider the benefits necessary for students while staying consistent with the strategic plan that is now in place. It speaks to the commitment Sam Houston has to the services provided to their students.”

The award and flag were presented to VRC personnel by Evette Ned, Houston VA regional office’s VetSuccess supervisor and Veteran Readiness and Employment officer Kelly Shupak.  

The flag, which flew over the capitol building last year, was accompanied in its frame with a certificate of authenticity signed by Congressman Al Green.

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