ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio - Ohio University recently joined the ranks of G. I. Jobs' Military Friendly Schools, according to a release by the magazine. The designation annually recognizes 20 percent of post-secondary institutions for commitment to military and veteran students and is compatible with the original mission of Ohio University's regional campuses, including the Eastern Campus, which was created in large part to serve returning veterans of World War II.
Nearly six decades later, this original mission of providing easy educational access for veterans is alive and well at Ohio University Eastern. Current student and veteran Phil Faires is one shining example of the success of this mission.
Faires graduated from high school in 2000 and was accepted at Ohio University's main campus in Athens the fall of that same year. An honor roll student, he felt fortunate that most of his educational expenses were covered by scholarships and grants during his freshman year.
However, Phil came to the realization during the end of the spring term that many of his community scholarships only covered the first year of school and that he would be personally responsible for paying for a larger portion of his education going forward.
"I was fortunate to have two of the best parents that anyone could ask for, but I felt it would be selfish of me to expect them to pay for my education since I was the oldest of three children," said Faires. "While I am sure that they would have sacrificed everything for me, I wanted them to have the financial freedom to help my younger brother and sister in the event that they needed my parent's financial support."
Phil initially tried to juggle early morning classes with a job at a local construction company. Unfortunately, he was not able to make enough income to cover his schooling. So, heeding the advice of a friend, Phil inquired about the Ohio Army National Guard, and attended a weekend drill. He enlisted with the recruiter stationed at Ohio University the following week.
"I left in August of 2001 for basic training in South Carolina and was there during the terrorist attacks of September 11, which greatly changed the role of the National Guard," said Faires. "I completed basic combat training and then went to Virginia to complete my specialty training in the field of logistics."
Although his unit was never deployed overseas, Faires gained many valuable experiences over the next ten years. For example, he was responsible for the logistical operations for a battalion of over 400 soldiers, assisted with various local, state and federal missions including the floods of 2004 in Belmont County, and received training in the fields of personnel management, leadership development, operations and financial management.
"Looking back now, joining the National Guard was the best thing that ever could have happened to me," said Faires. "I am proud to have lived and learned the values of duty, respect, honor, loyalty and integrity which have helped to shape my life as a husband, father, soldier, employee and student."
Faires, who retired from the military as a staff sergeant in 2011, is scheduled to graduate in December from Ohio University Eastern with a bachelor's degree in applied management. According to Michael Schor, lead faculty member in applied management, Faires has excelled as a student at OUE.
"I have been most impressed by Phil's accomplishments in the classroom and on internship at Barnesville Hospital where he helped to develop comprehensive marketing strategy for the hospital," said Schor. "The support he has given to classmates also speaks volumes about him. I look forward to writing letters of recommendation on his behalf."
Faires is equally supportive of Ohio University Eastern. "I would recommend OUE to anyone, including my fellow veterans," he said.
"The quality and personal attention that I have received at the Eastern Campus is really remarkable. In particular, I am most grateful to my faculty advisor, Michael Schor. Mr. Schor has worked tirelessly throughout my time at OUE to ensure that I met the requirements of the program while working full time and raising a family. He is an inspiring instructor and tremendous leader in the Applied Management program."
In addition to being a student at OUE, Faires is employed with Honor Resources, a land services firm out of Ravenswood, West Virginia. He plans to pursue an M.B.A. upon graduation from Ohio University Eastern.
Faires and his wife Lisa are the proud parents of a daughter, Madalyn, who is nineteen months old. The family resides in Lore City.
In a salute to all veterans, Ohio University Eastern is proud to invite the community to a free concert feauring the internationally acclaimed United States Army Field Band of Washington, DC, at OUE's Health and Physical Education Center on Wednesday, November 14 at 7pm.
Tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis at all Riesbeck's Food Market locations. For additional information about the Field Band's performance at Ohio University Eastern, please contact OUE's Director of Marketing E. J. Schodzinski at 740-699-2503 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.