Going from the Marines to helping veterans at Northern Virginia College was a nerve-wracking experience for E.J. Goodroe.
“When I started working with veterans at the community college, it really helped me with my transition,” said Goodroe, Del Mar College’s new director of Veterans Services.
He hopes to make that transition easier for Del Mar students, too. Goodroe recently replaced Tammy Micallef, who took a position with the Texas Veterans Commission.
Goodroe spent six years in the Marines as a radio satellite communications operator deployed to Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010, and said his experiences helped shaped him to be who he is today.
“I was always confident in my abilities, but I didn’t know how to channel that energy or drive somewhere,” Goodroe said. “When I joined the Marines they really cleared that picture for me. They helped me harness and focus in the right direction.”
He said one thing that stood out during his service was the teamwork.
“The biggest thing I always take away is the camaraderie and teamwork and that’s the thing you never forget,” Goodroe said.
That camaraderie carried over to Del Mar, too.
“They’ve all been very open, welcoming and warm in their reception,” Goodroe said of his Veterans Services staff. “They all want to make sure we all do well together and make sure this office continues to be successful as it has been.”
With over 1,200 students using Hazlewood Act and their Veterans Affairs education benefits, many have welcomed Goodroe with open arms, including Air Force veteran Eric Bustos, a student at Del Mar majoring in process technician with an associate in applied science.
“He’s been great. He’s been helping us with benefits with the VA,” Bustos said. “He’s helping get the word out to help us as a veteran community to come together.”
Another veteran is look forward to seeing what Goodroe brings to the table.
“He seems enthusiastic and seems to have new ideas to improve the services we provide to our veterans,” said Navy veteran Andie Gardner, who is majoring in psychology.
Besides making sure both East and West Campus centers run smoothly, Goodroe said he hopes to help students achieve their goals and balance their school and family lives.
“We are in the 21st century. Let’s see how far we can push our technology. Can we get more involved? Could we streamline process and make it easier for the students?” he said.
Services for veterans include the Veterans Service Center on East Campus, a lounge area where veterans can relax or use computers to do some studying or homework in peace. Also included are information on Veterans Affairs benefits that can help cover some tuition cost such as the Hazlewood Act and the post 9/11 GI bill.
For more information regarding these benefits call 888-442-4551 or 800-827-1000.