NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The coordinator at the Stephen F. Austin State University Veterans Resource Center and the students who use it are keeping close watch on the developments of the Fort Hood shooting story.
There are lots of reasons why.
Wednesday marked another Fort Hood mass shooting by a disturbed gunman. It's the kind of event the SFA Veterans Resource Center tries to prevent. Coordinator John Fontenot uses his own unique experiences to guide young veterans toward the right choices. .
"Well, I'm a combat veteran," said John Fontenot, the coordinator of the Veteran Resource Center. "I do have PTSD. I'm also in grad school for counseling, but also as a grad student have gotten counseling myself, and it made all the difference."
The difference came after 8 months of depression, anxiety, and physical illnesses.
"It took me to the crisis stage to ask for help," Fontenot said.
Fontenot is using today's news accounts of the Ft. Hood incident to teach veterans the key to staying well is to process and manage dysfunctional thinking.
"Any thoughts or ideas that you might have anger issues, anger outbreaks in your behavior," Fontenot said. "Anxiety, depression, things of this nature - come in ask for help immediately, and we can open up the doors to a lot of different resources to them."
Fontenot doesn't want tragic events like what happened at Fort Hood to tarnish the future for veterans. The goal is to convince veterans and employers that a veteran is not a liability, but rather an asset.
The SFA Veterans Resource Center inside the Baker Patillo Student Center provides a space for student veterans to network. SFA is one of few Texas colleges that offers free individual counseling to veterans.
Outside agencies offering help include the Samaritan Center, Veterans Service officers, and private counselors in the region.