By Armand Butera
After sitting down with FDU student John Myles for a few minutes, it’s understood that he is the perfect match for heading the Veteran’s Club. After a few years of dormancy, the organization has gained new life with the new president, who just seems to radiate compassion. Myles, a veteran himself, brings his caring personality to his profession and his desire to help the FDU community as a whole.
“As a veteran, you have that feeling naturally. You want to help other veterans, so even if I wasn’t the president of the SVA and was just a normal veteran student at FDU, I would help any vet. I would just like to help any student. I think it makes it easier just to help someone,” said Myles.
It’s likely to see Myles or other members of the organization helping other students, whether they need help finding a class or want more information about the club. He and his group are always talking about new ways to bring together the community on campus and helping veterans on and off campus. Although the foundation is still being laid out, Myles hopes that later members could piggyback off of ideas that they are being tossed around today.
The organization meets on the first floor of Dickinson Hall regularly, and when they aren’t talking of new ideas, Myles and his team are helping veteran students further their education. When students enter his office to talk about a test they had trouble on or class notes they want to discuss, they’re met with other veteran students helping them find another study method to help them for next time. It is because of this that Myles sees great potential in what the Veteran’s Club has to offer.
“We just help each other out, because being around positive people breeds positive energy, it’s contagious,” Myles said.
The new location is a much welcomed upgrade to the old meeting spot, which had more in common with a closet than a room. The Veteran’s Lounge is not only a place people can study in, but relax in as well. Myles enjoys the atmosphere where he will see veterans come in to wind down in between their busy schedule. Collaborating with John Dunn and Martha Papson Garcia, two directors of Veteran Services from the Teaneck and Florham campuses respectively, Myles is hoping to interact with the Florham campus more and get them involved as well.
“This past summer, we had a retreat for the weekend at the Florham campus. We worked with Psychological Services and we talked about everything veteran related,” Myles said.
“We had a discussion on social media and how that could help with job searches, we talked about issues that veterans may be facing at any university, and where veterans can get help.”
Additional topics include university benefits and ways to help veterans who’ve experienced combat action. Director Garcia is currently working towards having more interactions between the two campuses. While the organization wasn’t in operation when Myles came to FDU, he appreciated the “genuine friendliness” and warmth from the school towards him.
In addition to that, FDU participates in the Yellow Ribbon, a program geared towards the education of veterans.
“FDU was one hundred percent Yellow Ribbon which means that every veteran who came to this school, if they meet certain criteria qualifies for it, which is awesome. Some schools don’t do that, and they only accept ten percent or maybe fifty veterans,” Myles said.
In addition to running the organization, Myles is involved in a program called the Bachelors of Arts of Individualized Studies, with his focus on Business Management. He juggles both responsibilities by working through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and at the Veterans Center. When he’s not taking classes he’s participating in club activities like running applications and talking with other advisors.
Myles definitely keeps busy, continually working for the benefit of other veterans and students. With Myles at the helm, the Veteran’s Club is more energized than ever and is continuing to help the students of FDU, something he takes pride in doing. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the club John Mayles, president of the Veteran’s Club Photo Provided will be held on Feb. 23 at 10:30 a.m. in Dickinson Hall with everyone from the president of the university to army reserves attending to support what Myles and his team have built.
“The most rewarding thing is helping people, that’s what I like to do. It doesn’t matter who you are, I just want to help you,” Myles said.
“I think by being the president I get a lot of exposure to faculty, staff and students, and I genuinely enjoy helping people. Helping vets is number one, but helping, period, is very satisfying.”