Travelers Rest man starts scholarship program for veterans - FOX Carolina 21

Travelers Rest man starts scholarship program for veterans

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Courtesy: Ron Demonet Courtesy: Ron Demonet

They serve the country, but coming home can be hard for a lot of soldiers and their families.

One Greenville County man is working to make life easier for those who come from war to get back into civilian life.

It's with an organization called Veteran Scholarships Forever. Ron Demonet said he wants to make a different kind of training available for veterans so they can put their military skills to use in the local economy.

He's a Vietnam era veteran himself, and after a full career as an engineer in the private sector, Demonet wanted to do something meaningful in retirement. He said he's seen the struggles many veterans have when they get home.

He created the newly minted 501(C)-3 nonprofit to be focused on helping veterans pay for technical training so they can jump into the job force faster.

"At least the young men and women that have gone into the military in the last several years, they went that route as opposed to the college route," said Demonet. "The odds of them coming back and going to a four-year college is probably not in their, you know, on their radar."

Demonet says his own son forewent college and joined the army in his 20s. Now, his son works in information technology.

Demonet said he believes that many soldiers have great soft skills.

"They have a great work ethic; they're good team players; they're very goal oriented, all the things that are good. They just don't necessarily have specific skill sets that employers are looking for," said Demonet.

A year into existence, the organization is working on fundraising. It plans to give endowments to technical colleges, first in the Upstate and then to all 16 throughout South Carolina.

While the G.I. bill offers plenty for vets looking to get back to school, Demonet thinks it may not be enough for soldiers looking for certification or vocational degrees. He said that the bill may cover some courses, but not others, and he wants Veteran Scholarships Forever to "fill that gap."

Demonet is working with a board of five other volunteers. They're ramping up fundraising efforts and hope to begin giving scholarships by the end of 2014.

For more information or to learn how to donate:

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