Page 13 - Transormations Magazine 11-12

Transformations
11
rights, and assisting them in navigating the
complex processes that are often in place.”
Neely believes that in transitioning from
military to civilian life, “if there’s one simple
common denominator, it’s finding that sense
of belonging. For me, my career was over. If
there’s anything you can tell a veteran who’s just
getting out, whether he’s having problems or
not, it’s find somewhere to belong to give back
[
to the community].”
For Neely, part of giving back meant becoming
president of IU Southeast’s Student Veterans
Organization, a role he used to increase
awareness within the community and to reach
out to his fellow veterans. “If there’s one thing
I’m proudest of [about the SVO], it’s that we
can walk up to a veteran, shake hands, and
say, ‘Hey man, welcome home.’ You’ve got
people around here that care about you. The
University went after the opportunity to create
this. They went after grant money that created
awareness and brought in training for the staff.
They went after funding and sought Dale
Brown to start and facilitate grant events.
They did that. If they did nothing else, I
hope the administrators and whoever designed
this plan will keep that with them the rest of
their lives. Everybody here, from the police
department to the maintenance department...
and the staff... everybody cares. Being a Vet is
a title you carry out of humility, and I’m not
saying I was owed anything... [but] this is the
only place where I feel I was treated like it really
mattered.”
In looking at where he’s been and where he
hopes to be, Neely reflects: “Even though I had
a lot of other support in my life, this is what’s
set me up to have a better future.”
Neely had begun to
see in himself the same
symptoms he’d been
trained to look for in his
fellow soldiers.