“I had not heard about that,” said Jason Thomas, a former Lon Morris College athletic trainer. “That actually sounds like a great use of the college. Something to benefit the many men and women that have served in our military and helped protect this great country.”
Chuck Bones, commandant of local Marine Corps League Det. 1381, said such an institution could go a long way toward helping veterans.
“I think it would be a great idea,” Bones said. “A veteran-based college could gather like-minded individuals in one place and they would all share the camaraderie of veteranship.”
Bones said many veterans returning from combat and exiting the military can have trouble adjusting to civilian life.
“If you look at them 10 years after the military, you'll find that many have gone through as much as five to 10 different jobs,” Bones said. “The main reason for that is while they were in the military they were responsible for thousands of dollars in equipment and when they get out in the civilian world a lot of companies don't recognize they had that responsibility and don't trust them with their equipment.”
Bones said that an educational institution that could help younger veterans through the transition to civilian life would prove invaluable.
“It would be good for them and good for the local businesses to learn how capable they actually are and how that capability can help their business,” Bones said.
Darrell Prcin, president of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation, hadn't had a chance to review the idea and didn't have an immediate response.
“I've heard a little about it but I have not had the opportunity to visit with Jack about it,” Prcin said.
Jacksonville City Manager Mo Raissi and Police Chief Reece Daniel were not immediately familiar with Webb's idea either but immediately recognized its merits.