Grad students call for veteran recognition

By on December 9, 2009

Two Quinnipiac students were concerned that veterans who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq were not given the support or recognition they deserved at the Quinnipiac University School of Law.

First-year law students Ryan Cleckner and Brian Gregorio decided to form a student organization that took an active interest in helping these veterans.

Cleckner and Gregorio, who are veterans themselves, formed the Veteran’s Advocacy Group. They brought awareness to the campus by helping students learn about civil-military legal relations, military legal careers, combatting post-traumatic stress disorder and other related issues. They also felt it was important that law students participate in community service.

More than a dozen law students have joined this group in just three short weeks. They have already helped many veterans in the local area.

“We have received an amazing amount of support from the students and faculty in the law school community,” Gregorio said.

This organization has an special meaning to these two law students. Gregorio is a former U.S. Army Military Intelligence interrogator/linguist and the group’s Vice president. He returned from three years of service this past spring.

Cleckner is a former sniper in the First Ranger Battalion and he is the group’s president.

“I think it’s a great group that addresses a phenomenal issue,” Cleckner said. “A classroom is very far removed from a battlefield, and it is important to remember there are men and women serving in harm’s way for us.”

There are many veterans who live in Connecticut, and Cleckner and Gregorio want to expand the Veteran’s Advocacy Group to help as many as possible. They know firsthand how difficult it is to return to civilian life after being away for a long period of time.

“We felt that as veterans and law students, we had a unique opportunity to assist our fellow service members who may be experiencing difficulties in transitioning back to civilian life,” Gregorio said.

They want to make this adjustment as easy as possible and make the community aware of the difficulties many veterans face.

“Our primary goal is to reach out to these individuals and let them know that their service is not forgotten and there are those who want to help,” Gregorio said.

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