TOPEKA (KSNT) – After finishing up with 13 years in the army, Chris Bowers had traveled all over the world.
Looking for his next mission, he found himself right here in Topeka, helping fellow veterans finish their education experience. Bowers ended his time with active duty in long range reconnaissance. He worked as a lead scout, team leader and operations sergeant around the globe.
“My role was to be forward of the enemy lines, gather intelligence, and we sent it back to whoever had sent us out there to gather that intelligence, so they could impact the battlefield,” Bowers said.
Today, Chris continues to serve fellow veterans throughout the Topeka community at Washburn University and Washburn Tech.
“I was the first ever full time employee to be a military transitions coordinator,” Bowers said. “I get to serve veterans in whatever need that could be. It could be they need help with academics, I’ll line them up with tutors, I’ll line them up with somebody else that needs the same sort of benefits or they need something from the VA.”
Being that bridge between veterans and the assistance they need post-service means a lot to Chris, especially with his experience returning stateside.
“When I came through Washburn’s doors at 43-years-old as a freshman, I looked around and there was a lot of bureaucracy between getting my stuff through the VA, getting my stuff done here,” Bowers said. “I wasn’t really good with computers, and as I was doing all this I wished there was somebody to help me get through it.”
From Chris’s experience, a lot of veterans don’t know what services are available to them. Helping connect them with the resources they need to continue pursuing a degree and celebrating that success with them, makes it all worth it.
“If they can’t take care of the basic needs of life, they certainly can’t be successful at school, which means they’ll probably gonna have to leave school and find work,” Bowers said. “If they’re working more than they are taking care of their academic life, they’re not going to be successful here so they’re not going to graduate. If we get them through all of this, and they go out in the community and they’ve got a better job, the community as a whole is better.”
For Washburn veterans, you can find Chris in Mabee Library to learn about resources, or connect with fellow veterans.