Tuesday, November 29, 2022

UM Veterans Resource Center is Asking for Help Refurbishing Historic Staircase

Courtesy of Ole Miss Ignite

Students head upstairs to the second floor of the house to Veteran and Military Services offices to access their GI Bill benefits.

In 2019, the University of Mississippi Veterans Resource Center and the Office of Veteran and Military Services moved into a charming home in the center of campus: the historic George Street House.

Donor support, volunteers and grants helped renovate the house, decorate, furnish and make a functional, welcoming space for UM’s nearly 1,700 student veterans and military-affiliated students.

The first floor of the Street House is the Veterans Resource Center, where students can access study spaces, a stocked kitchen and a lounge where they can relax and connect. Students head upstairs to the second floor of the house to Veteran and Military Services offices to access their GI Bill benefits.

And that, said Andrew Newby, the administrator of Veteran and Military Services, can sometimes pose a problem.

“The George Street House itself is charming. It’s visually striking,” Newby said. “But the stairs, which I believe are the original stairs from when the house was built in the early 1900s, are not in good condition.”

Many may picture Ole Miss student veterans as young people who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and are in excellent shape. But student veterans often deal with injuries that affect mobility and balance, and not every student veteran is young.

In 2019, the University of Mississippi Veterans Resource Center and the Office of Veteran and Military Services moved into the historic George Street House.

“My oldest student veteran at the time of us moving in was 82 years old. Mr. Inman was a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, and he came to the University of Mississippi with his grandson to get an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree,” Newby said. “My next oldest student veteran is 65, about to be 66. And they’ve got to go up and down the stairs every time that they need something.”

To respond, Newby’s team has embarked on a project to refurbish the historic staircase by repairing any worn-out or cracked treads and then adding durable stair runner carpet to provide better traction. The carpet, which is made in America, features a historic star design that matches the house’s patriotic décor.

The Ole Miss Family has responded with love for our student veterans and military-affiliated students with gifts and contributions that helped make the George Street House a home. In honor of Veterans Day and the season of giving, please consider showing our gratitude by contributing to refurbishing the historic staircase.

“If you’ve ever had to write your blood type on your clothes to go to work in the morning, you shouldn’t have to wonder where you can go on this campus to get the help that you need,” Newby said. “The George Street House’s one-stop shop for the Veterans Resource Center and Veteran and Military Services has transformed our ability to serve a very unique student population. We’ve made this place a home. We want to invest in continually improving this space to better serve the next greatest generation and future generations.”

For more information or to make a donation visit the Ole Miss Ignite website.


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