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Veterans Use GI Benefits to Begin Second Careers
June 25, 2020

Joshua Shek spend 10 years serving his country as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. Now, he’s serving the people of East Tennessee as a registered nurse. He  completed his associate of nursing degree in May and is now working at an East Tennessee hospital. 
Like other new nurses across the state, Shek hasn’t taken the state licensure exam. That has been delayed to the testing sites being closed to avoid the spread of Covid-19. In the meantime, students can work under the guidance of registered nurse.
“I’ve always loved helping people and I’ve always been fascinated with how the human body works. Nursing was a natural choice. Coming to Walters State was very practical. The classes are rigorous and intense, but the faculty members are excellent,” Shek said. 
Shek’s education was paid for by his veteran’s benefits. He was also the first recipient of the Vietnam Veterans of America scholarship. 
“The military is a great stepping stone for me and it helped me appreciate all the little things in life,” Shek said. 
Shek encouraged other veterans to use their benefits.
“College is much different than high school. If you have succeeded in the military, you can succeed in college.”
Walters State began serving veterans when it opened in 1970. Its first graduating classes included many who had enrolled after returning from Vietnam.
“I encourage veterans to call me and discuss how to best use benefits,” said Jason Wilder, coordinator of veterans services at Walters State.
“Some veterans are eligible for other benefits, including and Tennessee Reconnect.  I like to meet or speak with veterans individually to see what benefits are available. Then, the student can choose which one is best for his or her circumstance.”
For more information on using veterans’ benefits, contact Wilder at or 423-585-6896.

In the photo: Jushua Shek completed his associate of applied science in nursing this May at  Walters State Community College. Prior to becoming a registered nurse, Shek served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army for 10 years.