Community supports veterans left in the dark about their future

October 18, 2017
In The News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Things are looking up for two veterans who were taking classes to get a HVAC certification in Texas.

The Retail Ready Career Center in Texas closed unexpectedly, leaving the students without a certificate they worked for and no way to get a hold of those transcripts. They were also left with uncertainty on whether or not they would get their GI bill tuition money back.

But the community came together to lend a helping hand to these guys.

FOX21 first spoke with Charles Autry and Steven Patillo in October about this issue.

Now although there are still no answers, members of the Colorado Springs community have stepped up to offer a different path.

"That was the biggest thing, get that resolved and to open up to the doors of opportunity and pursue the education required elsewhere," said Charles Autry.

Congressman Doug Lamborn's office stepped up to help and all $20,000 of each of their education benefits will be restored in November.

The regional vice president of Colorado Technical University, Mark Seglem, saw our report and said he felt drawn to help as a fellow veteran.

"It broke my heart quite frankly," said Seglem.

"We wanted to reach out to you guys, because you were treated very badly and that's something that doesn't sit well with us," Seglem told Autry.

So he told the vets if they were interested, they could take part in one of their degree programs.

"Those folks who have served our nation and what they have done and the sacrifices they have made when they are wronged. People step up and say we want to figure this out, we want to help," said Seglem.

This offer is something the two vets we spoke to are really thankful for.

"What is really helpful for a veteran if you really want to thank them is to find out where they need help and where to give a hand in that direction," said Autry.

"It's nice to know people are out there trying to help us and they do care," said Steven Patillo.

Since we spoke to them last, Autry now has a job in the Colorado College HVAC Department, but Patillo is still looking.

Autry and Patillo became fast friends in the trade school as lab partners.

Since the school closed down they have stuck together and later both coincidentally applied for the same job in Colorado college's HVAC department.

They both made it to the second round of interviews and were actually talking each other up.

Charles Autry was the one who was chosen for the position, but still wants to help out a deserving friend.

"There is one more veteran out there, at least one that i know of that is still looking for help in this field … he a friend of mine and we'd love to see the same kind of break happen to him," said Autry.

Patillo said maybe the offer from CTU will allow him to pursue his bachelor's degree once again.

To read this article in its original format, visit Fox 21 News