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Columbus State Community College often delivers a diverse group of graduates each quarter. Iraq War veteran Kyle Burks is among the standouts for Autumn 2011.
The 29-year-old arrived at the college in 2008 after serving just over three years in the U.S. Army. As a sergeant, he was the lead gunner on the front truck of convoys searching for roadside bombs in Mosul, Iraq. During his 15-month tour, his vehicle was hit by roadside bombs on four different occasions.
"I entered the military, in part, because I was in a dead-end job in 2005," says Kyle. "My grandfather had served in World War II breaking up Nazi concentration camps in Germany. I decided I wanted to do something for my country where I could make a difference. Serving as a gunner and fighting Iraqi insurgents was my way of doing that."
Burks was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for his bravery during a three-and-a-half hour firefight in Mosul. He was also awarded a Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the war.
Despite his short-term memory loss and other war-related disabilities, Kyle graduated with an associate degree in Business Management. He plans to continue his major at Ohio State University with the long-term goal of opening his own animal care business.
Columbus State offers a variety of services to veterans. Our Financial Aid office has a designated coordinator for veterans' financial aid benefits, and the college was named to a national list of military-friendly schools in 2012 by GI Jobs Magazine. The state of Ohio also has a number of Ohio education benefits for veterans.