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Supporting Student-Veterans on Campus: Lessons from Lived Experience

Originally posted on the DEA's CampusDrugPrevention.gov website.

I was barely old enough to order a beer when I found myself being deployed to Iraq. This was post-9/11 so to say tensions were high is an understatement at best. I was thrown right into the deep end.
 
I was smart enough to know I didn’t know everything. But still, nothing in my 21 years prepared me for what I would see during that year on active duty. I went from attending classes and juggling studies to engaging in small arms fire and being hit with an improvised explosive device during my first week in the country. I led more than 180 combat patrols as an Army Infantry team leader and as a member of a recon/sniper team.
 
When I returned to college in the fall of 2006, I was quite literally a different person. The classmates I had been with my previous three years in college had graduated the previous spring. Lost in a sea of strange faces, I felt unmoored and alone.

In addition to the culture shock...

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CBS 4 INDY - "Noblesville veteran honored for serving others after his time overseas"

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Posted:  Updated: 

NOBLESVILLE, Ind.– A local veteran is on a new mission these days to help student veterans and those who are struggling after serving our country.

Dave Closson grew up always wanting to serve. His father, a retired sergeant major and airborne ranger, served in Vietnam.

“He is just a walking, talking excellent role model. A man of integrity, and family man,” Closson said. “Growing up, I always wanted to be just like my dad.”

Closson joined the service at a young age. He joined the Illinois Army National Guard.

“I thought I could have the best of both worlds. I could serve and do all the fun Army stuff I knew I would love, but I could also have a civilian life,” he explained.

Closson was deployed during his junior year of college. He went overseas and fought as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his first week there,...

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Interview with the Hamilton County Reporter

I had the honor of speaking with Stu Clampitt of the Hamilton County Reporter regarding my selection as one of the few Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) #StillServing Heroes nationwide. (VFW invites all veterans to submit their stories at vfw.org/stillserving.)

Thank you, Hamilton County County Reporter! 


Noblesville veteran helps college students find success in life

Dave Closson was born in Illinois and chose to serve his country in Iraq. Now he chooses to make Noblesville his home and to serve others in the private sector. A big part of that service is his work to help veterans in college apply the organizational skills and mindset of their military experience toward the goal of attaining academic and career success.

Continue Reading on the Hamilton County Reporter's website here.

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Student Veterans & Substance Misuse Prevention: Four Tips for Success

As a 21-year-old junior in college, I was deployed to Iraq. That call came right in the middle of the first semester. I went from being a college student sitting in classrooms to patrolling the streets of Iraq. On my very first day in country we took mortar fire and the first week on patrol my truck was hit by an I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Devise). A big change from being in the classroom and worrying about getting homework done!

After a year-long deployment, I returned home mid-summer and jumped right back into college, picking up where I left off. Since it was such a long deployment all of my friends had just graduated. Now I was older than the other students, didn’t have any friends, my life experiences were like no other, and I was still figuring out how to make the adjustment back to civilian life.

LISTEN: Dave Closson talks about what campus prevention professionals should know about military vets.

I felt alone, but today our student veterans certainly...

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