Ask VA a question

Ask VA a question

By: Brittney Payette

From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 1 in North Shepler room 332 CU’s Office of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosted “Come Ask VA a Question.” 

CU’s VA Coordinator Vickie Henson said this event is great because it allows the VA to have a day at the beginning of the semester dedicated to answering questions regarding things like eligibility and education benefits. 

“We’ve people who’ve had debts from prior semesters where they had to withdraw from classes, so VA’s been able to assist them with mitigating circumstances,” she said. “We also have the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs with us today, and they’re helping with comp and pension issues with the Federal VA.”

Henson said the VA office at CU wanted to have this event on Feb. 1 because it was the day after the first pay period.

“If something isn’t working right,” she said, “I have a VA representative … that’s live and in-person that they can come see, and we can get that problem resolved before it becomes an issue.”

As part of the specialized services offered at this event, the VA also had two Veterans Claims Examiners available to process education claims and answer a variety of questions about benefits and payments. 

At the event, people could sign in at the front desk of CU’s VA office and then the staff would sort through who was coming for what services. 

“We get them mated with whatever information they need,” Henson said. “Whether it be education, rather it be comp and pension, rather it be our VetSuccess on Campus Counselor, you know,  whatever information is needed we get them with the right person that can assist them.”

She said for those who needed to see multiple people, they would see one person and were then moved to the next station to be helped by another. 

Cameron’s VA office hired a new VetSuccess on Campus Counselor (VSOC) named Ernest Swindle II. 

“Ernest came to us in January,” Henson said. “We’re the only one in the state of Oklahoma that has a VetSuccess on campus … It’s a full-time VA employee. What they (the VSOC) do is they can help with talking about VA educational benefits, and if they’re interested, they don’t have to be currently attending. If they’re interested in coming to Cameron, then they can provide counseling to them about what benefits are available.” 

Henson said the VSOC can also help prospective students with job marketability and career counseling. 

“They also can assist with personal counseling, financial counseling, and of course, referrals to the appropriate medical and health referrals that the veterans may need,” she said. “This is a program that covers all of our chapters of benefits, and so they can assist with those students with helping and guiding them through. We encourage students to reach out and they’ll be able to email Ernest at his VA email.” 

Swindle’s email is

Henson said this was essentially Swindle’s first event as CU’s VSOC.

Henson said the goal of this event was to make a difference for CU students and the community. 

“The VA outreach team goes to several different institutions in the state, but we’ve always had a great turnout at Cameron,” she said. 

Henson said that on April 1 and 2 the VA office will host VetFest, which will also include the Military Veterans Resource fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both of those days. 

“It will be similar to what we’ve done in the past,” she said. “With the resource fair and with the VetFest.”

For more information, contact CU Veterans Affairs at or Swindle at

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