“Help” drives SCTCC student, veteran
Help. It’s a little word that means a great deal to Matthew Deno, SCTCC student and veteran with 10 years military service, including 2 tours in Iraq, and 1 series of pirating patrol operations off the coast of Somalia in his history. Known to his friends as Deno, this decorated Marine will graduate spring 2016 with a degree in Paramedicine.
Help is what brought Deno back to Minnesota once his military service ended in July 2013. The Brooklyn Center native returned to “Help my grandma take care of my grandpa, who was in hospice.”
Help is also what brought Deno to his program of study … and karma. “As I child, I always enjoyed helping people,” he said. “And when I was in the Marines in infantry, I did a lot of things I regret doing. Now, I’m looking for good karma. Paramedicine was a good fit for both.”
Finally, help is what Deno sees as key to his role as a student veteran at SCTCC. He sees his work-study job in the Veterans Resource Center as a benefit that goes well beyond the financial compensation. “My primary benefit is to help other veterans,” he said. “When I first got to school, I was completely lost. I had no idea what to do. I want to be there for others in the same situation. My job is to help new veterans with their entry into school, show them programs, show them around school, pose as a mentor if they need me to.”
His work with the Student Veterans Organization will help everyone remember those who are currently serving overseas. A recent club fundraiser will bring back “Red Shirt Fridays” to honor troops, he said.
Deno hopes to be employed by an ambulance service in St. Cloud following graduation. In five years, he wants to be a SWAT paramedic, which will require additional training and exercises with a SWAT team.
Deno believes veterans gravitate to one another for one simple reason. “When you’ve been through terrible situations, you have to rely on others,” he said. “It helps when someone understands what you’re going through and has experienced it too.”
His advice to all veterans is this: “Ask for help when you need it. Don’t try to be a tough military person and suck it up and do it by yourself. That won’t work.”
Help provide needed scholarships and resources for students just like Deno.