Reedley College collecting gift cards for student veterans this holiday

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Valley school is going above and beyond to recognize its veterans this holiday season.

Veteran Thomas Rios remembers what it was like being a new student at Reedley College.

"I kind of didn't know what I needed to succeed so I stumbled a bit, but eventually I figured it out with Linda and some other people," said Veteran Thomas Rios.

He credits the Veteran Center with helping him achieve his educational goals.

"I didn't go in ever planning to get help," said Rios. "Their expertise, their knowledge was instrumental in getting me the help I needed to be successful."

Now an academic coach at the Veterans Center, he and the staff are using the holiday season to support their student veterans.

"This is Reedley College family's way of giving back to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed to support our country," said Linda Reither with Reedley College.

Each year, staff are asked to be an honorary aunt or uncle to the families of student veterans.

"We want them to realize it's not whether they need it or not. It's just an extension from our family to their family to just give that support," said Stephanie Doyle.

This year is no exception, amid the pandemic, they're asking for gift cards of $50 or less to go toward gas, food and gifts for the veteran's families.

"It's not so much for the veterans themselves as much as it is for their families because of all the sacrifices families have to make over the years," said Rios. "For people in need, it's a nice big smile on their face, a blessing to their family, and their kids when they weren't expecting to have much."

If you'd like to make a difference for a veteran this holiday season you can drop of gift cards at the Reedley College Admin building or contact linda.reither@reedleycollege.edu or stephanie.doyle@reedleycollege.edu.
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