By Kim Mulford
While chatting with visitors Thursday, Zaida Nogue kept an eye on the open door to her office, scanning the faces of students. Two years into her job as Camden County College’s veteran services adviser, Nogue can tell quickly when one needs her immediate attention.
When that happens, everyone else clears out, and she shuts the door. Sometimes, her students just need to decompress. Sometimes, they need to vent. But all will get her undivided attention.
“They’ll come in with that whole military thing,” Nogue said. “They won’t come in the room until I ask them to. … They will stand there until I tell them that it’s OK for them to sit down. By the time they leave here, they’re like one of my children.”
The school’s 264 veterans receive special treatment from Nogue, a mother of two Army veterans and a Marine veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. Her office serves as their home base. She nudges them to accept veteran benefits, guides them toward appropriate majors, and listens.
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