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Issac and Saddam
November 08, 2012 : Iraq War Veteran Preparing to Graduate From OU Lancaster

Veterans can learn about education opportunities at OUL on November 14


Lancaster – Issac Hill is in the process of registering for his last four classes at Ohio University Lancaster. He will graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Applied Management this spring. But, the 34-year-old knows he will not be a typical college graduate. He has already seen and experienced more than most people ever do. He is a veteran.


"I served in the army from 2002-2006," said Hill. "I jumped in right after September 11th happened in 2001."


Issac and downed Iraqi jet


The West Rushville native graduated from Fairfield Union in 1997 and was in the process of going to college when he enlisted. He served two different tours of duty in Iraq during his four years of service, which ended in 2006. He came home to a wife and child and needed to find a way to support them.


"When I got out of the military, I got a manufacturing job in Columbus," said Hill. "But, after two years there, I was laid off."


That's when Hill applied for unemployment and learned about the federal assistance available to him as a veteran to go back to school and finish his degree. It was an opportunity he knew he could not pass up.


"Veterans need to take advantage of all their opportunities and they just shouldn't waste school," said Hill.


Hill knows that he's fortunate to be able to go to school. On Veteran's Day, he said he thinks of those who didn't have that opportunity and sacrificed their lives for this country. One of those was a friend that Hill met as soon as he enlisted.


"His name was Kevin Ott. He was from Columbus and we went through basic training together and we both got our duty stations at Fort Sill in Oklahoma," said Hill.  "When he was in Iraq, he had to go out on a normal patrol, him and another guy, and they both became MIA. We did a huge search and rescue effort, but his body was later found."


Hill said he thinks about Ott and others who died in Iraq often, but knows he has to focus on the future and the life he has ahead of him. Hill's wife gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, over the summer. "


Now, it's time to find work," said Hill with a laugh.


Veterans who have questions about benefits that are available to them have the opportunity to meet with a veteran's representative on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus November 14.


"A lot of men and women don't have any idea what's offered to them as services," said Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Lyle Hamilton.


Hamilton works out of the Fairfield County Job and Family Services Office in Lancaster and his job is to help veterans get training and find employment. Hamilton will be in Brasee Hall Room 302 from 9 a.m to 11 a.m. to answer questions any veterans might have. No registration is required.