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A code of support for service men and women

shutterstock_143100571When service members enroll in the armed forces, they sign a code of conduct in which they pledge to give their lives in defense of the country if called upon to do so. As U.S. citizens who benefit from the sacrifice our service members make every day, it is important to ask ourselves what we can do to support them — especially as more troops return from active duty. It is critical not only to identify advocates for them, but to be an advocate who helps them transition to civilian life. What is our code of support for military troops and veterans?

With this in mind, the Code of Support Foundation (COSF) was established in 2010 by Major General (Ret.) Alan B. Salisbury with the goal of bridging the growing divide between our military and civilian communities. He created the Code of Support, which is a set of six meaningful promises all Americans (99 percent of the population) can make to our service men and women (1 percent of the population) who sacrifice so much for our nation.

The Code of Support recognizes the selfless service of the men and women in the armed forces; raises awareness of the needs of our service men and women and our veterans; and encourages donations to and volunteer service with select organizations that support our service members, veterans and their families. Anyone can sign the Code of Support.

The COSF works to engage and leverage the full spectrum of the nation’s resources to ensure that our service members, veterans, and their families receive the support they need and have earned through their service and sacrifice. Kristina Kaufmann, Executive Director of COSF, is a recognized expert on military and veteran family support and is a member of National Louis University’s Veterans Program Advisory Council.

In the spirit of the mission of COSF, military veterans who transition to civilian life and higher education can benefit greatly by being connected with the proper support and resources. Reaching out to organizations like COSF, which is national, is one option. Veterans also can identify local organizations.

With this in mind, NLU’s Veterans Program partners with Code of Support and provides support for military and veteran students and their dependents. The NLU program is unique because it includes “wrap-around” services that are particularly relevant to student veterans in their transitions back to civilian life and academia. The services, not offered by many other universities, are called “wrap-around” because they are not all academically focused, but all play key roles in helping veteran students succeed in their studies and life. These services include career services, legal services, curriculum advising, mental health/social services, spiritual services, physical health and financial support. NLU understands that military veterans have many considerations, beyond academics, when returning to college, and the institution is doing its best to support them.

Veterans looking for more information and guidance for their transition to civilian life can contact Paul Knudtson, NLU’s Director of Armed Services Relations.