Thank you for your service

This past Friday, one of our Terra State students was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Matt Kaiser retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2011 after serving six and a half years and being deployed for three of those years. In a ceremony surrounded by family and friends, Matt thanked everyone for coming out to support him. After being told he still looks good in a uniform, Matt joked that this was the first award he received where people actually came out to see him.

Matt started his studies in Mechanical Engineering Technology in the fall of 2015 and is planning to graduate next spring. Originally from Oak Harbor, he chose Terra State because he knew a few people who attended and had good experiences, and because it is close to home. Matt said he enjoys his classes but college life is “a little more challenging than he expected with a wife and kids” and that “coming back to school, I’m not used to having homework.” But in the end, college is worth it because it’s “nice to learn new things” and so many people “stick with what you do and don’t venture from it.”

Terra State would like to thank Matt and all veterans for their service to our country. Oftentimes in the media, we see the scores of faces and names of military personnel without getting to know them on a deeper level.  Joyce Spencer, Student Success Mentor for Veterans said “I am very honored to be a part of this ceremony” and that “Matt is always a gentleman, always a Marine.” Joyce is also Matt’s advisor and was able to help him with the paperwork for the GI Bill, which helps pay for college.

Terra State works hard to assist all veterans and their families by offering many support services including help applying for the GI Bill, tutoring, and career planning. There is even a veteran’s center located in Roy Klay Hall that offers both a social side (equipped with a television and comfortable chairs) and a study side (equipped with five computers, a printer, and microwave).

This semester alone, there are more than 100 veterans enrolled in classes and Joyce sees about 25 consistently in the veteran’s center. She says the best part of her job is “working with students like Matt – seeing them come in with some apprehension but leaving well-trained and with confidence in their field.”

If you are a veteran (or know a veteran) and would like more information about services available at Terra State, visit or contact Joyce Spencer at 419.559.2348 or

To read more about Matt’s story, click here to see the New York Times article Stanley McChrystal’s Long War by Dexter Filkins.