During the November meeting of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Chancellor Paul Hill reported that all the state’s public higher education institutions have met or exceeded goals set forth by West Virginia’s 5 Star Challenge initiative. Launched last year by the commission’s Office of Veterans Education and Training, the 5 Star Challenge set forth a call to action to institutions to improve educational opportunities for veterans, military service members, and their dependents.
Shepherd received special recognition from L.G. Corder, the HEPC’s director of veterans education and training. In a release issued by the HEPC, Corder said: “The impact of Shepherd’s Team River Runner program is phenomenal. Some patients at the VA were so taken by the experience and with Shepherd that they have since enrolled in the college and are completing degree programs. The effect is transformative. These individuals are not only on the road to recovery but on a path to a college degree.”
Team River Runner-Shepherd is the first and only chapter in West Virginia, established in April 2013 by a team of instructors, outfitters, volunteers, and supporters from Shepherd, the community, and the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg. TRR-Shepherd offers weekly kayak training programs in the university pool and on local waters, and connects participants to a supportive and welcoming community. Registrar Tracy Seffers serves as Shepherd’s chapter coordinator.