Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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June 28, 2013

A college for veterans? May-be!

City supports idea to convert empty Lon Morris property

(Continued)

JACKSONVILLE —

“I think anything we can do for the military personnel is great,” Raissi said. “They really deserve it.”

Absolutely, added the chief.

“Anything that benefits veterans can't be a bad idea,” Daniel said.

Dr. Joe Wardell, superintendent of the Jacksonville ISD, was not immediately familiar with the proposed idea but also believes it has value.

“Theoretically that would be a good use for the remaining facilities as well as an opportunity to meet the needs of an important segment of our population,” Wardell said.

Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis said such a college could benefit both veterans and the local community

“Finding a good use for the Lon Morris facilities and helping our veterans, and often neglected segment of our citizens is certainly a worthy undertaking,” Davis said.

Michelle Zenor, a former associate professor of English at LMC, said she believes a college with a specific mission of educating veterans is an excellent idea.

“In my experience, veterans are disciplined and motivated students,” she said. “I imagine the benefits of such an institution would extend to the community that supported such a noble purpose.”

Jacksonville Mayor Kenneth Melvin was very enthusiastic about this prospect.

“It really sounds like a good idea,” Melvin said. “If the discipline is there and everyone behaves themselves and acts properly and doest cause problems with, you know, drinking or swearing or using illegal drugs, I don't see anything wrong with a place for veterans to further their education and get a leg up in the world.”

However, the mayor added, that's not to say he believes the loss of Lon Morris has necessarily created a vacuum that needs to be filled.

“I think Jacksonville College has done a wonderful job of trying to catch up with that particular whirlwind — the one we have all been caught up in,” the mayor said. “Jacksonville College has expanded its curriculum, built new dormitories. I don't think we are hurting for another institution.”

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