By Kenneth Bracewell
My name is Kenneth Bracewell, and I am twenty-seven years old and from a small town in Texas. After graduating from high school in 2005, I decided to go to school for one year at a local community college. I did not do well in college and did not want to be there. I realized that college was not for me, and I felt I was born to serve my country by joining the United States Army and being all I can be in the Infantry. This was my dream since the 10th grade of high school, and I did not want to wait any longer to join the service.
So one year after I graduated high school I joined the United States Army and became an Infantry soldier. I served for a total of three years and five months in Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and one combat tour in Iraq. While stationed in Alaska I went on a four day weekend pass to Anchorage where I met a beautiful woman and her daughter.
I became a model soldier in my unit and earned the right to have a mileage pass for good behavior, so I was able to visit them every other weekend. I married her one year later, on Valentine’s Day 2008. My wife always supported me with the choices and decisions that I made while in the Army. I loved serving my country and I wanted to stay in for longer, but I did not re-enlist. I wanted to spend more time with my wife and daughter and start a life for us in Alaska.
After I left the United States Army in November of 2009, I switched my Montgomery G.I. Bill over to the new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I remained unemployed for a total of eight months while attending college at the University of Alaska Anchorage and providing for my family. I applied for at least fifty separate jobs requiring different qualifications. I did not receive any job offers, and the few interviews that I had did not go well. In June of 2010, I finally found a job suited to me with a nonprofit organization that provides services for people with developmental disabilities.
I was fortunate enough to work with my wife at this new job and we both managed an assisted living home with a small clientele. It was a live-in position, and we maintained the home 24/7. This work situation and the schedule made it possible for me to go to college more than the full-time rate, while also working a full-time job, and providing for my family. I ended up earning two college degrees in three years at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I earned an Associates of Applied Science in Human Services degree and a Bachelor of Human Services degree with a minor in Psychology. I did not plan on going back to college after I left the Army, but my wife motivated and supported me, and she said I should make good use of it as a veteran. I ended up doing just that by taking as many classes as I could, and keeping myself positive and motivated.
A little less than a year after I graduated from UAA, I started writing a book about how I successfully utilized my Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I recently published this book, titled A Veteran’s Road to College Success, to tell my story and hopefully encourage other veterans to take advantage of their education benefits. This book is available on Amazon as an eBook and on Amazon’s Create Space in paperback.
About the Author
Kenneth Bracewell is a United States Army combat veteran. He is currently in his last year of earning a Master’s degree in Justice Administration. His goal is to work with Post 9/11 veterans in areas of education and employment.
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