EDMOND — When administrators at the University of Central Oklahoma began interviewing for the position of veterans affairs manager they hadn’t formed an exact job description.
“Nobody knew what to do with this office,” said Kennan Horn, who was hired for the job and started work in April.
That was just fine with the 24-year Army veteran.
“I like to operate like that,” Horn said. “Give me mission and intent, and get out of my way.”
UCO had established VetHERO — Veteran Higher Education Resource Office — in 2012 to address the academic, financial, physical and social needs of student veterans.
“They truly were interested in supporting veterans,” Horn said, but there was little oversight of the various projects and programs.
Horn said UCO has more than 700 veterans and their dependents using veterans benefits. He estimates another 100 to 200 are on campus and not using the benefits.
He works to identify veterans and show them how they can maximize their benefits for themselves or their families.
Dependents are the fast growing population the office serves. Since 2009, veterans have been able to transfer their GI benefits to dependents, but mom and dad may not know how to do that, Horn said.
Children and spouses of veterans who are 100 percent disabled or who died while in the service also may need help with the benefits due them.
“In the Army, we always looked at the family as part of the team,” said Horn, a retired lieutenant colonel. “We’re going to take care of them as well.”
He said spouses often get the short end of the stick. His wife never got a degree because the family moved 14 times in 24 years. And when it came to Horn’s GI benefits, she wanted them to go to their children.
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