‘Veteran’s Power Hour’ brings veterans’ stories to MCCC and community – Timesherald
BLUE BELL – Montco Radio’s new series pays special tribute to Montgomery County Community College veterans.
Tune in as Matthew Benko, Director of Veterans Services at MCCC, hosts “Veteran’s Power Hour,” an hour-long live online radio show airing Fridays at 9 a.m. on MontcoRadio.com. Each week, Benko sits down with veterans from across the student body and community to share their experiences.
An active-duty Delaware Air National Guard Senior Master Sergeant, Benko said he hopes the new show allows veterans to get along and learn from each other.
“I wanted to create an access point for veterans to be thanked for their service,” he said. “I wanted to highlight what being a veteran means to them.”
Benko, 42, who lives in West Norriton, has 22 years of military service, dating back to his time as a senior airman in the US Air Force and a staff sergeant in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. He also has experience as a counselor at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Philadelphia and Coatesville. He hopes good faith will help his guests feel comfortable and willing to open up to him during the show.
“It was great to reconnect with veterans in that capacity,” he said of the show. “When I was a counselor and therapist at the VA, that was my job. I managed a caseload of 200 veterans in a clinical setting. My duties as a therapist were to talk with veterans and discuss “Engaging their stories. That’s the thing I miss the most: hearing and communicating with veterans. Facilitating a dialogue to help them process their experiences.”
The show, he said, is meant to be fun and meaningful for guests and listeners. He hopes veterans of all generations will tune in.
“Not everyone may be comfortable going on the radio, but hearing other veterans tell their stories can be empowering,” he said. “There is a common theme that veterans from generations apart can connect and bond. This is the power of the Veterans Network. Their shared experiences strengthen them and can get them out of a tough time.
Hosting the show with little or no experience behind a microphone wasn’t too much of a problem, Benko said. He credits Matt Porter, Senior Producer and Director of Technical Services, for getting him through basic radio training.
“Matt said, ‘You fly planes. It’s easy. It’s literally three switches. Think of it like a keyboard on steroids,’ Benko said. “It’s overwhelming but I’ve always been technically interested .”
The real challenge has been finding ways to grow and evolve the show, he said. He has a rolodex of groups of veterans, students, faculty and staff on campus who he hopes will participate in the show, but he would also like to find ways to grow at beyond that.
“And find a way to use it as a resource for Montco student veterans, military-related students, and their families. The show also connects families. Because it is a fundamental value and a mission of the College. We are a community college. We are an access point and a way for the community to connect. This is what we are looking for when it comes to community college.
Previous episodes of the show will be available for download as a podcast through Spreaker. The College community can listen to Montco Radio programming anytime live online. The site offers links to listen, club information and a schedule of shows.
MCCC has its designated Veteran Resource Centers where it assists students with their VA benefits, helps them transition to campus life, and hosts an active student veteran organization, where they can connect with d fellow student veterans through weekly meetings and activities.
Through prior learning assessment, MCCC also offers credit for qualifying military experience and training. The Veterans Resource Center is located on the Blue Bell Campus adjacent to the Center for Fine Arts. Services are also available at the Pottstown campus in the North Hall. For more information on veterans services, contact Veterans Resource Centers. For more information on the Veteran Power Hour, contact Matthew Benko at [email protected]