NKU’s Veterans Resource Department already offers a large number of services to students who have served in the United States military, ranging from help with applications to Veterans’ Association certification.
Now, they are adding one more, particularly for those students who have been injured in the line of duty: reserved parking spaces.
In the near future, there will be three parking spots around campus reserved for Purple Heart recipients, both students and faculty. Special signs, which designate the spaces as reserved for “combat wounded”, are produced and dispensed for free to organizations that want to provide special parking to injured veterans.
According to Robin Estridge, a Veterans Certifying Official at NKU, the idea was sparked by student Jared Clifton. Clifton says he was inspired to inquire about the signs after seeing a facebook post about them, written by fellow Iraq veteran and friend Jeremy Evans.
“Jeremy makes the signs,” Clifton said. “So I thought, ‘What about trying to get them put up on campus?’”
The idea grew quickly, according to Estridge.
The signs were approved on July 29th, less than a day after their initial proposal.
“We went over to parking at twenty after four,” Estridge said. “Parking loved it, and by the next morning at 10:00 it was approved.”
For VA Work Study student David Wiener, the spots are a way of making student veteran’s lives easier.
“We have families, we have kids,” Wiener said. “And sometimes we can’t make it here really early in the morning to get a spot”.
The spaces also serve as a way to shorten the walk for veterans whose injuries might make it difficult for them to traverse large parking lots.
The provision of special parking for veterans is a growing trend. According to Wiener, Home Depot locations in Cold Springs and Florence have both recently added the signs, and the signs’ supplier has also worked with other area stores including Walgreens and Walmart.
As a school with approximately 500 veteran students, the Veterans Resource program at NKU is expanding. While only a few students have reported their status as purple heart recipients, Estridge indicates that there could potentially be more.
“A lot of them don’t want to respond, they don’t want you to know,” Estridge said. “They don’t want to be recognized like that.”
Wiener hopes to see the program grow, and would like to see more and more veterans involved with veterans resources. They offer services as simple as an open office with a microwave or advice on the best places to study on campus
“It’s not just an office,” Wiener said.
If you are a veteran who is interested in learning more about Veterans Resources at NKU, information is available at http://veterans.nku.edu.