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Veterans Center receives funding and space

 Local businessman donates to support veterans at TWU

*Originally printed in the July 16th issue of The Lasso*

Some people advertise through billboards, commercials or ads in papers. Not Jason Weir, owner of 5W Collision Repair. Instead, his advertisement plan is donating to the community. This month, TWU received $7,000 to establish a Veterans Center, a goal Director of Commuter & Non-traditional Student Services Amy O’keefe has been working to achieve. Weir and his wife normally split the donation between veteran’s groups and women’s groups. Because TWU is both a women’s campus and has a vet­eran population, Weir decided to completely fund the center. “The way I look at it, veterans get misplaced and they don’t get the help they need,” Weir said. “I spent 5 years in the Navy and got out right after 9/11. Before that, I had a job lined up but since 9/11 hit, I didn’t have anything. I had to move in with my parents and start from scratch. I struggled a lot and now that I am successful I want to help.” The couple is responding to requests from around the community, giving where funds are needed most at the time. Decisions are made based on immediate need and 95 percent of the donation must go to the cause. O’Keefe and a group of students had applied in the spring for a grant to build the center. When they were turned down, a chance meeting with Weir opened the possibility. A staff member went into his shop to get her car repaired, and while there, chatted with Weir on his business model and the plans for a veterans center. Before long, the project was up and running. “We have been looking at benchmarks for veterans and other universities and one of the check points was to have a veteran’s center,” Program Coordinator of Commuter and Non-Traditional Student Services Jessica Burchfield stated. “Our hope is to provide a community for veteran students.” Director of Housing Dr. Joe Berthiaume has set aside two rooms, 106 and 107, in Jones Hall to use as the center. Plans for the rooms are to make one a study room with computers and the other for socializing, complete with a coffee maker. Once funding was available, the project began with gusto. The two rooms have already been prepped, painted and made internet-ready. Furniture has been ordered and symbols representing each military branch will be hung on the walls. There are also ideas working on a way to recognize the donor. The biggest aim of the center is to create an environment student veterans feel is their own. Before now, they were a group of students that had nowhere they could meet and build an environment for themselves. “I can’t wait to see the Center,” Weir said. “I can’t wait to see it put to use. I like seeing what I give create a difference.” The Veterans Center will open in early September, with a preview day and reception to be held in mid-August. For more information regarding the Veteran’s Center, contact Amy O’Keefe at 940-898-3227, or Annie Phillips at 940-898-3469. For more information on 5W Collision Repair, contact Jason Weir at 940-383-4334 or email at Jason.Weir@5WCollision.com.

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