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SUNY Empire State College to raise $1M for military families

October 01, 2019 10:40 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - SUNY Empire State College is launching a campaign that looks to help military families get their degrees.

They want to raise $1,000,000 to help veterans, military members and their families pay tuition.

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SUNY Empire State College supports about 1,300 veterans, active village military members and their families across the country. They said this initiative is the first of its kind.

"Nobody in the country is doing something like this. We want to be the first and I think that is going to be really meaningful for veterans and their families,” SUNY Empire Chief of Staff Aaron Gladd said.

Gladd is a U.S. Army veteran. He was a platoon leader when he served in Afghanistan.

"What we want to do is we also want to recognize the sacrifices of families, the person who has a spouse, the child who doesn't have a parent anymore,” Gladd said. “I think that they sacrifice just as much and the school and the state, we are going to put a real effort behind recognizing their sacrifices and doing everything that we can because they served us pretty well overseas and I think we should serve them right here at home."

The campaign is still in its infancy stages, but officials with the Office of Veteran and Military Education at SUNY Empire said they hope to expand both to other SUNY schools in the future.

Desiree Drindak is the Director of Veteran and Military Education at SUNY Empire. She's also a military spouse.

Drindak said though some service members have the G.I. Bill, if they transfer those benefits to their children, but it rarely covers the needs of multiple children.

“Part of this scholarship piece is to be able to fill that gap and break down the barriers so that students can continue and complete their degree program,” Drindak said. "Any support we can provide to our spouses and the children of our veterans our active duty, Army Reserve, there's never enough funding to go around."

If you'd like to contribute to the campaign you can do so by following the link here.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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