Southeast Missouri State University celebrates Veterans Day today, one day after its Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS) received a donation of business and dress attire from Farmers Insurance of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.
The more than 200 pieces of clothing are part of Farmers Insurance Suits for Soldiers nationwide fundraiser which seeks to assist transitioning veterans and service members by ensuring they have proper attire for civilian employment.
The transition from military service to a civilian life can be difficult for veterans and for many the additional costs of purchasing business attire for job interviews or work can be a necessity they aren’t prepared for or have the means to purchase, said Amanda Wood, outreach coordinator for Southeast’s OMVS.
“Soldiers are often provided a stipend to update or replace their uniforms and it can be a shock. They don’t necessarily take into account how much it costs when purchasing their work clothes for their first interview or job,” she said. “This donation is great to relieve that burden and will help our student-veterans be prepared for interviews and employment.”
From left to right: Matthew Golden, a junior criminal justice major and U.S. Navy veteran; Daniel McCoy, a sophomore criminal justice major and U.S. Navy; and Alex Elsy, a junior accounting major and Army National Guardsman, help organize the more than 200 pieces of clothing donated to the OMVS.
The donation includes apparel for men and women, from full suits and coats to individual items such as pants, shirts and ties, and brands included Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Stafford, Izod, and much more.
Having a variety of items to offer will allow more student-veterans to take advantage of this donation and helps prepare them for multiple situations, from a formal event to a casual business wear meeting, said Woods.
The OMVS supports 469 student-veterans at Southeast, but also supports more than 1,200 military-affiliated students including spouses and children, as well as any veterans from the local area who are seeking help for education and services.
“There’s always a need, and if there are any veterans out there that need our help, we do everything we can for them,” said Jeremy McBroom, director of Southeast’s OMVS. “This donation will go a long way to help our veterans be set for success. We are very blessed to have support from Farmers Insurance and the University to make this possible.”
Farmers Insurance district manager Clay Hurst said the donation is part of a nationwide campaign and local agents wanted to give the clothing directly to area soldiers and their families.
Alex Elsey, a junior accounting major and Army National Guardsman, tries on a new suit donated by the Farmers Insurance Suits for Soldiers fundraiser.
“We wanted to get it directly to the soldiers and give it to the men and women who need it the most and can benefit from this,” said Hurst.
The outpouring of support from the community and Farmers Insurance clients has been remarkable and Hurst says he’s proud to pass that on to the Southeast veterans’ community.
“It’s amazing how much support there is for the military and how much we can give to our veterans,” he said.
For Matthew Golden, a junior criminal justice major, U.S. Navy veteran and president of Southeast’s Student Veterans Organization, the donation represents an opportunity for veterans and soldiers.
“It will give them the ability to look professional and find success in a career and be productive,” said Golden.
Soldiers and veterans interested in receiving clothing may contact Southeast’s OMVS at (573) 651-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Southeast’s Office of Military and Veterans Services and the Student Veterans Organization, visit http://www.semo.edu/veterans/.