Brad Dyer found a new focus for his life after visiting with representatives from the Disabled Veterans Association.
“I just jumped around from job to job trying to take care of my kids,” said Dyer, who served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard in Iraq in 2008 and in Afghanistan in 2011. “I bounced around for three years.”
He took the advice of other veterans and visited the DVA who helped him collect his veteran’s benefits more quickly. It also helped him decide to utilize his GI Bill benefits enroll in college.
“Why not go and better yourself and your situation? You put in the time, they were my benefits, why not use them?” said Dyer, who is now a student in OSU Institute of Technology’s Construction Management program. “It really changed my direction.”
Dyer, who is also president of the Student Veterans Association, is spearheading Vet Connect, a first-time event held on the OSUIT campus that aims to connect local veterans with veterans’ organizations from the Tulsa and Muskogee areas.
The event is Friday, Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the break out rooms in the OSUIT Student Union, 1801 E. Fourth St., in Okmulgee.
Tulsa Vet Center
14002 E. 21st Street
Tulsa, OK 74134-1412
Project Veteran Assistance
5215 E. 71st Street
Tulsa, OK 74136
Volunteers of America Oklahoma Veterans Services
9605 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, OK 74133
5216 E. 69th Pl.
Tulsa, OK 74136
Organizations that will be on hand during the event include the DAV; Tulsa Vet Center; Project Veteran Assistance; Volunteers of America Oklahoma’s Veterans Services program; Ki Bois’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families; G.I. Wishes; Oklahoma National Guard Family Readiness program; and OSUIT’s Orthotics and Prosthetics program.
“It’s an opportunity for service organizations in Tulsa and Muskogee to come down here to talk with people who can’t make the 45 or 50 minute trip because of work or school or family,” Dyer said. “By having Vet Connect on campus, it allows these organizations an opportunity to reach veterans and communities they don’t usually have a chance to visit.”
Vet Connect is open to anyone, not just students on campus, and Dyer hopes veterans in Okmulgee and surrounding communities take the opportunity to come and meet with representatives from these agencies.
“There’s all these groups out there with resources available,” he said. “Any way we can help veterans with that process, not just here on campus, but veterans in the community, that’s what this event is all about.”
Dyer hopes with Vet Connect’s success, SVA will be able to provide this service to veterans every year.
“It’s a way for SVA to reach out to the community and it’s a way for OSUIT to showcase what it does for veterans,” he said.
He also hopes Vet Connect brings more attention to SVA, especially to veteran students on campus who aren’t already involved in the group. Right now, the club has about 10 to 15 active members.
“The veterans club should be the largest club on campus because we have veterans in every program,” Dyer said. “When I first got here I was pretty solitary. I finally went to a SVA meeting and I was around my people and everything clicked.”