By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 28, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Pursuing one's dreams can be fraught with challenges and obstacles, but the Fort Rucker Education Center seeks to keep people's dreams of getting higher education within reach.
The Fort Rucker Education Center held its Education Fair Oct. 20 as a means to make it easier for Soldiers and family members to engage and connect with schools that might help them reach their education goals, according to Grey Edwards, Southeast Hub education director.
"Any time that we can showcase what we have available to service members and their families is a good thing," he said. "There are so many times that service members and family members are not aware of the opportunities that they can continue to do, from basic skills all the way through to graduate-level programs."
Some of the different schools and programs included, Enterprise State Community College, Troy University, Central Texas College, Florida Institute of Technology, Wallace Community College and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, all that were there to help people meet their goals.
Attaining those goals was what W01 Jeremy Parnell, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, hoped to achieve when he visited the fair.
"I just wanted to come out and check to see what my options were as far as continuing my education," he said. "I may not be in the military forever, and even if I am, I want to have a plan and have other avenues open for me, so I think this is a great way to explore that."
Edwards said that one of the best ways people can explore those options is by getting face-to-face interaction with people from these different institutions.
"There are programs from all different types of universities that are not only physically here, but visiting schools, as well," said the education director. "There are professional counselors and education staff who can work with them to attain their career goals.
"Anytime that you can have that face-to-face interaction, it gives them that opportunity to identify and see who they can pick up that phone to call if they have an immediate question or concern," continued Edwards. "They get the chance to establish that report to know that they have someone on that side they can trust, and it just opens up so many avenues because it's all about relationships and the opportunity for them to interface with our colleges, our education center, our testing center, our learning center and all of our mentors."
That opportunity is exactly what Charlene Bodin, military spouse, said she was hoping to get during her visit, not only to answer questions about continuing her own education, but her children's, as well.
"I'm a mother of three, so I don't have a lot of time for school at the moment, but I do want to go back and finish out my degree," she said. "It's good to know that I can come here and just see what my options might be."
Bodin, who already has an associate's degree, is hoping to be able to complete get her bachelor's degree in business administration, something she started years ago.
"I feel like it's been so long since I've been in school, I don't even know where to start anymore, so I'm glad that I can get here to ask some questions and just get a feel for what I need to do," she said. "And if I can help my kids get an early start on what we need to do to get their college education started, I'm all for that."