By Paul Hadley

The presence of having veterans in the community can play a big role in the maturity and wisdom of our youth. We are lucky enough to have a strong veteran presence here at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs). These veterans are just trying to adjust to life as a student on campus, a task that can be quite difficult without any assistance. Fortunately, help is on the way.

Just a few weeks ago, veteran John Alexander started his first day on the job at 4Cs as the Military Veteran Services Advisor. Alexander served in the military as a member of the United States Army for nine years. Six of those years he spent in the Army National Guard, where he was based in Germany. Alexander has spent many of his years, both in and out of the service, doing his best to help serve the community.

When Alexander came back home to Cape Cod, where he grew up, he started a career in the field of criminal law where he became a police sergeant for the town of Barnstable. He served in that position for 26 years and continues to work there, albeit only on a part-time basis.

Even in his off-time, Alexander searches for ways to make a positive impact in the Cape Cod community. He and his wife volunteer every month at a program called ‘Heroes in Transition’. This volunteer-oriented program was created by the mother of an Army veteran. Unfortunately her son, Captain Eric A. Jones, died for his country, losing his life in a helicopter crash in Iraq. The program exists in his memory and is dedicated to helping veterans.

‘Heroes in Transition’ strives to provide financial support, home modifications, support animals and social therapy events for veterans in need. Alexander’s role in the volunteer program is to touch base with veterans who have just returned home from their time serving. He works to provide social counseling as he helps out veterans trying to get back to a normal post-military lifestyle.

“Working with veterans to provide them help is so important to me,” said Alexander.

There are many other proud military veterans who work at 4Cs alongside Alexander. Ralph Negron, a history professor at 4Cs, was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps for over 20 years. Like Alexander, Negron highly values the importance of having veterans on our campus. Negron believes that, “having veterans on campus brings awareness to this small, but important segment of our population”.

Both Alexander and Negron are proud veterans who believe that they bring help to student veterans in achieving academic success at 4Cs.

Overall, Alexander’s role as the school’s military veteran services advisor is “extremely important”, according to Negron.

Growing up, Alexander wanted to be an architect and never had any aspirations of joining the military. However, Alexander eventually followed in his grandfather’s footsteps by joining the military. Alexander was ultimately grateful for his decision to join up because it helped to shape him into the man that he is today.

Alexander’s role at the college is essential, playing a big role in helping the 4Cs community of veterans. He sets an excellent example for the youth on Cape Cod, helping them to understand the sacrifices that veterans make to protect our country, displaying pride, integrity and respect. Alexander is a welcome addition to the 4Cs community and he is just getting started.

Photograph by Bruce McDaniel