Archive for the ‘Grace Student Veterans Organization’ Category

The Lounge

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Grace College’s  Student Veteran Lounge is designed with military students and dependents in mind.  Located in the Gordon Recreational Center, it offers students a comfortable place to study, rest, or relax.

Equipped with computers, internet access, and comfortable leather furniture, the lounge is an ideal place to write a big paper or prepare for that upcoming exam.  Specially for military members, our computers are outfitted with Common Access Card readers, so that students can use Department of Defense websites to do things like complete Computer Based Training courses or check the status of their education benefits.

The lounge features several amenities which make it attractive to the many off-campus members of the college’s veteran community.  The kitchenette, complete with a beverage-stocked refrigerator,  microwave, sink, and Keurig coffeemaker can save students time and money by allowing them to prepare their own food on-site.  Additionally, the Veteran Services staff keeps the kitchenette stocked with a variety of convenience foods.  The student-in-a-hurry can choose from a number of quick and easy meals at a reasonable price.

The Student Veteran Lounge is a fantastic facility created especially for the Student Veteran’s Organization.  As a member of the Veteran Services staff, I urge you to take advantage of it!  It is only one of the many benefits that come with being a military student at Grace College.

-Marshall Vondy



Nocturnal II: Military Edition – Extraordinary Success

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The Grace College Student Veteran Organization in partnership with Metzger Outdoors, and the KCV Cycling Club hosted Nocturnal II: Military Edition on October 22nd, 2011.  With over 300 people in attendance this adventure race extravaganza was a huge success with numerous racing participants as well as community support and involvement.

The three races, a 10 Mile Bike Race, 5K Trail Run, and the Ridiculous Race were full of adrenaline, speed, and fun.  Prizes were given for best costume, coolest bike, and 1st place for each race.  The 1st place results are as follows, 10 Mile Bike Race: Matt Light (41:12:90), 5K Trail Run: Female – Megan Metzger (26:15:02), Male – Spencer Rheinhardt (21:56:60), and the Ridiculous Race: George Joachim (34:20:60).  The largest team that participated was “PeddleFish” with 18 people.

Prizes were donated from Relentless Martial Arts Academy, YMCA, Wagon Wheel Theatre, Wal-Mart, Shoe Sensation, Eagle Creek Farms, Signature Portrait Studio, Marsh and more!  Local businesses and families sponsored the event through cash donations; these sponsors included Kohl’s, SYM Financial Advisors, Global Auto, Wildman Business Group, Metzger Trucking, Chore Time/Brock, Crouse Body Shop, the Andy Airgood family, and the Mike Metzger family.  Local businesses also made in-kind gifts, Kohl’s sent four volunteers to help with the event, Lake City Radio and LeSEA Broadcasting promoted the event, Martin’s Supermarket donated reusable shopping bags, and Rabb donated water.  Thanks to all those who sponsored, volunteered, and participated in the event.

On top of the three races, the day included children’s activities, food, and representatives from the Navy, Army National Guard, and the Grace College Admissions Team.  In the back of a Navy SUV an entire gaming system was set up for all to enjoy Madden and Guitar Hero.  A helicopter from Parkview Samaritan Hospital landed on Miller Baseball Field where children and adults were able to explore the helicopter.

Donations from local businesses as well as racer entry fees totaled over $7,000, the money raised goes towards the Grace Military Fund to assist Grace students who are veterans or military dependents in affording their schooling.  On top of this scholarship, the cash proceeds from the day were donated to a local family as an act of kindness.  Following the final race of the night over 120 bikers made their way through Winona Lake following a Winona Lake fire truck and a 2nd Mile Adventures bus to honor this family and give the donation right at their home.  Participants described the night bike parade as the best part of the entire event, extremely fulfilling, and emotional.

Nocturnal II: Military Edition was a tremendous success and Metzger Outdoors is already planning to host an annual race in partnership with the Grace College Student Veteran Organization.  Look for more races in the near future!

For more information on Nocturnal II or other upcoming races, please visit:

For more information on Grace College’s Military program, please visit:


Grace Launches Military Student Website

Monday, November 7th, 2011

New Military Microsite Launched,

WINONA LAKE, IND. – Grace College and Seminary recently launched a Military specific website for all current and prospective military students.  Grace is committed to coming alongside Military veterans, dependents, and those currently serving in the Military through providing quality education and services.  Grace College seeks to help those who have made a difference in our armed forces make a successful transition into civilian life.

The new website is designed to be a resource not only for current and prospective Military students at Grace, but also for community members with a Savings at Local Businesses page.  Also featured on the website is the Grace College Student Veterans Organization, the Veteran Affairs Student Services Team, military benefits, and financial aid opportunities.  The website can be found at

Grace College and Seminary has grown its Military program in the last year through building the VA Lounge and Resource Center located on the Grace College Campus in the Gordon Recreation Center.  The VA Lounge is a place for veteran students to connect and commune with fellow veterans, network and share strategies, information, and support one another as they adjust to civilian life and a Higher Education environment.  In addition to the lounge, the Grace Student Veterans Organization provides activities and events for students to interact and share with one another.  Recently the Student Veterans Organization put on a campus wide Scavenger Bingo that was a huge success.  Also, the SVO partnered with Metzger Outdoors to host Nocturnal II: Military Edition which included a 5k run, 10 mile bike race, and ‘ridiculous’ adventure race!


Welcome to Grace College’s Military Website!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

As a military student who is currently serving in the US Air Force Reserves, I am pleased to welcome you to the Grace College Military website!  Everything here is for active or retired military veterans and their dependents.

Our aim is to provide support, assistance, and resources to both current and past Kosciusko County veterans and military students right here at Grace College.   Here you can learn about our facilities, gather information about military related education benefits, and apply for academic admission.  Additionally, we offer information on local military-friendly businesses and deals, events, and services.  Take a look around and see what we have to offer!

As well as offering access to veteran’s services online, Grace College has its own on-campus Student Veteran’s Organization.  The SVO is an active organization which supports student veterans and dependents by offering recreational facilities, academic assistance, and spiritual counseling.  It affords a comfortable Christian environment for those who are familiar with military life, and regularly partners with local businesses in hosting fundraising events which benefit its members.  Coming up, the SVO will be partnering with the Warsaw Hacienda restaurant for its annual “Hacienda Night”, and at the end of November will be welcoming a special guest speaker to chapel.  The SVO staff is always busy planning new events for our veterans, so keep your calendars open!

If you are interested in contacting us, visit our homepage and fill out the short contact form on the right-hand side of the page.  We look forward to hearing from you.

-Marshall Vondy

Discounts for Veterans and Active Duty Military in November

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

In honor of Veteran’s Day, many restaurants and attractions are offering free meals and tickets throughout the month of November. Most are open to men and women currently active or retired from military service; however, some are resticted to those on active duty. Some notable freebies:


Night Adventure Race at Grace College

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Metzger Outdoors, KCV Cycling Club, and the Grace College Student Veteran Organization are partnering to host “Nocturnal II: Military Edition.”  This event includes three different races throughout the afternoon and into the evening on October 22.  Nocturnal II is Metzger Outdoors’ fifth adventure race. Past races have drawn over 150 participants from as far away as Arizona. Earlier this year, Metzger Outdoors put on an adventure race called “Destination: Unknown,” which raised over $10,000 for a Grace scholarship. The proceeds from Nocturnal II will go to the Grace Military Fund to assist Grace students who are veterans or military dependents.

Nocturnal II includes a 10-Mile Mountain Bike Trail Race starting at 4 p.m.  Within this race are three divisions: Expert, Sport, and Beginner. Following the Mountain Bike Trail Race, a 5K Evening Trail Race will start at 6 p.m., with divisions broken down by gender and age group.  Finally, for the truly adventurous, the Ridiculous Race will start at 7:30 p.m. and is completely in the dark.  Racers are encouraged to compete in teams, and each team needs one bike.

Prizes will be given for best costume (bikers and runners), coolest bike, and 1st place for each race.  Anyone who finishes all three races will be entered to win a cash prize of $500.  Early registration is through Oct. 15 and is $15/person per race or all three races for $35.  Late Registration, until race day, is $20/person per race or all three races for $50.  In honor of all veterans, there is a military discount of $5 off the total registration fee for reserve, active duty, or retired Military.  Registration is online at

Immediately following the Ridiculous Race, there will be a night bike parade through Winona Lake, and all the racers will get to be a part of a surprise act of kindness. A bonfire and cookout will also take place at Miller Field on the Grace campus.

A U.S. Marine will be at Nocturnal II collecting for Toys for Tots. The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

For more information on Nocturnal II: Military Edition, and to register for the event, please visit


Grace College Named ‘Military Friendly School’

Monday, September 26th, 2011

For the second year in a row Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind., has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The list of named schools is a product of years of research across government agencies and private entities, as well as a survey administered by G.I. Jobs. The 2012 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students.

The 1,518 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list prioritize the recruitment of students with military experience.  These schools are making the grade by offering scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit and other services to those who served. The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country.


Grace College and Seminary Receives Grant to Promote Academic Success Among Student Service Members and Veterans

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Grace College and Seminary will use a $50,000 grant from Operation Diploma, an initiative of the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University, to develop programs and policies designed to boost academic success of student service members and veterans on campus.

The grant is part of more than $1 million that MFRI awarded, through its Operation Diploma initiative to Indiana’s post-secondary institutions of higher education. The colleges and universities all proposed ways to enhance services at their campuses for the state’s student service members, veterans and their families.

The Grace College and Seminary award includes four initiatives. First, students in the M.Div. Chaplaincy Program will be advised by CH (CPT) Scott Shaffer, Army National Guard Chaplain with the 38th Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion (DHHB) in Indianapolis. This mentorship program will allow students to learn from Scott who is an experienced veteran and also a Grace staff member. Second, writing assistance in the Learning Center will be available to all military students to help them transition back into an educational environment. Third, a local/regional advisory council will be formed to help guide and direct the Grace College & Seminary VA Program. Fourth, the award will support the further development of a Grace military specific website that is set to launch in August and will assist prospective students, and provide information to veteran/military students in the community.

Currently at Grace College and Seminary, there are 24 military students that will return to campus this fall along with several incoming freshmen. These students all have access to the VA Student Resource Center & Lounge located on the Grace campus in the Gordon Recreation Center.

Scott Shaffer, VA Student Services Officer at Grace College & Seminary stated, “We are excited to expand the VA Program here at Grace and look forward to the new developments and opportunities that this award will allow us to explore in helping veteran students transition to Grace College & Seminary.”

Launched with a $5.8 million gift from Lilly Endowment Inc., Operation Diploma empowers Indiana’s post-secondary institutions and student veterans organizations to better serve student service members and veterans entering college for the first time, and those re-entering college after extended service or deployment.

Since 2009, Operation Diploma has awarded more than $2.4 million to Indiana colleges and universities, who have used the funds to produce more effective and supportive services or expand them for these students. This year, institutions submitted competitive proposals for grants of up $100,000.

“This year’s proposals demonstrate that we are entering a new phase of campus recognition and support,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “Schools are building on their successes to reach for even higher goals and attracting the attention of their neighbor and peer institutions in the process.”


Grace College and Seminary is honored to be a part of this generous grant.  In addition to Grace, MFRI funded grants at 21 other Indiana schools.


Grace College Student Veterans Organization

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

It has been said that bravery is having the clearest vision of what lies ahead, glory and danger alike, and yet to go out and meet it. “Bravery” defines the life of a person who sacrifices everything to fight for our country in the U.S. military. It defines the lives of families who have a dad, brother or sister serving in faraway lands, facing danger and risking lives for justice and freedom, as a soldier, pilot, sailor or marine. It defines the kids of the soldier who is suddenly deployed and has to move hundreds of miles away and uproot his family yet again. It defines the young wife who does not know all the details of what her husband does or the danger that he’s in.

In light of the unique life that military veterans and dependents lead, Grace College has started for the first time, a Student Veterans Organization (SVO) for any campus veterans or military “brats.” The group meets at least three to four times a semester and discusses the benefits of military members such as the GI bill. They also discuss their unique backgrounds.

“Each member has a special outlook gained from their time in the service or traveling with their military family,” says the group’s president, Wayne Thomas. “Though we started out having only a few members to share stories with, we have seen substantial growth in membership.” He says that the difficulty in finding some veterans is the fact that some are no longer using their VA Educational Benefits. For instance, some members served in Vietnam and as such have used all of their available GI Bill. “Currently we have 28 veterans on campus, including the ones in GOAL and other distance learning programs,” says Thomas.

Thomas, along with the vice president, Dave Sumpter, served in the US Navy. “I was on the USS Alaska, a Ballistic Nuclear Submarine. [Sumpter] was a corpsman.  Both of us moved from coast to coast during our service.” The other leaders of the group include John McStay, an Air Force veteran, and Scott Shaffer, the Assistant Registrar, as the advisor. 

“Because the guys in the group are actually soldiers, SVO is a place I can go and feel at home and comfortable,” said Joy Graham, whose father, Captain William “Billy” Graham, is a chaplain in the National Guard. “It was nice to come to college and not feel like I had to quit my entire army life cold turkey. SVO gave me a chance to talk about my life in the military and have someone understand- without having to explain all the crazy military acronyms.” Graham has moved 18 times in her 19 years of life. She has lived everywhere from Kentucky to Korea.

“It’s nice to have someone who totally understands where you come from and where you have been,” agrees military dependent Samantha Muntz. “It’s especially nice to have someone to lean on right now, because my dad is getting deployed again. While other people try to understand, there is just something about talking to someone who has been there and felt exactly what you are feeling.”

The group was recently given a lounge in the GRC complete with new leather couches, flat screen T.V, computer room, fully stocked kitchen and a dining room table. It is a place that any of the veterans or military dependents can go any time to study, watch T.V or just be together- sort of a home away from home.

Grace College Student Veteran Organization Wins Award

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University has awarded $600 to Grace College’s Student Veterans Organization, which will use the money to support its student service members and veterans on campus. The grant was one of six awards made on Saturday, January 22, 2011, which ranged from $600 to $2,000 and totaled $9,350.

“This is not just a generous donation by the MFRI to our current students, but it is a wonderful investment in our future veteran students that are currently serving to protect our freedom,” said Wayne Thomas, president of the Student Veteran’s Organization at Grace. In the past year, Grace has made aggressive effort in addressing veteran needs, adding an on-campus Veteran Student’s Center and providing special benefits for military students and their families.

“As a former United States Air Force Officer, I’m excited about Grace’s initiatives to support the veteran’s program,” says Tom Dunn, the chief operating officer for Grace College and Seminary. “It’s gratifying to see the school assisting veteran students by providing facilities to specifically meet their needs as they adjust to the higher education setting.”

Student veterans organizations (SVOs) offer opportunities for students to make valuable connections with other student service members and veterans, as well as supportive faculty and staff.  This often eases the transition into academic work and the campus environment.  SVO members frequently pursue community initiatives and collaborations with other organizations, allowing them to become more invested in campus life and the local community.

“Students who are more engaged on campus tend to be more successful,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “In addition to providing a sense of community, SVOs can also motivate their members to access the spectrum of services available to them, including financial aid, academic advising and student services.”