Voices of Veterans: Kent State Sr., a Navy veteran hopes to help others make the transition to life after the military


On JET 24 Action News, we bring back a series of stories that pay tribute to the men and women who have served and are serving in our armed forces.

In this edition, Roosevelt Leftwich introduces us to a former Marine about to graduate from Kent State University.

It’s a hell of a transition from being a section chief in an armored unit in the Marine Corps to just another guy going to class at Kent State.

“When I came back from my 4th and last deployment, I struggled quite severely with PTSD. And I got over that, ”said Mark Stillian.

Stillian has seen certain things and experienced certain things during his deployments first to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. These things made it difficult to adjust to civilian life, but he got help. Now, in his final year at Kent with a master’s program in counseling ahead of him, Mark says he’s determined to help others.

“I am a strong advocate for veterans mental health, to reduce the suicide rate and help fight post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s what excites me and that’s what I want to do. Stillian said.

Stillian has found his calling, but for many veterans, the next thing to come after their stint in the military isn’t always easy to find.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment among post 9/11 veterans is slightly higher, but it’s mainly attributed to the fact that many are under 30 and making big adjustments in life.

Additionally, many veterans under-utilize or fail to utilize the benefits to which they are entitled under the GI Bill, which includes full payment for job training or tuition.

Kent State, like most colleges in Ohio, has a special office to help veterans get started and enjoy the benefits they’ve earned.

Ryder says veterans are older students with very different needs than those who have just graduated from high school and are doing everything to meet those needs.

“Come to the office and discuss your benefits with you. We put you in touch with the services on campus. said the horseman. “If you have other issues, we can connect you to other services to make sure your transition goes smoothly. “

With the end of the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, more and more military personnel are expected to leave service and seek the next chapter in their lives.

Entering college in his late twenties, Stillion says it was a different kind of shock and awe.

At 34, he says those steps he takes now and what he brings to the table live up to one of the biggest lessons he has learned from his time in service – the Marines are still moving forward. .

“I also offer a lot of insight to classes that other students may not have had and experienced,” he said.

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