My Name Is: Joe Labutka of Lakewood. Former service member, current student at UCD

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Washington, DC, November 25, 2015 | comments

Content originally published by the Lakewood Sentinel on November 25th, 2015.

By Clarke Reader

 

Lakewood Sentinel

 

 

About me

I moved to Colorado when I was around 8 or 9 years old, and have been in Lakewood pretty much the entire time. I went to Patterson Elementary, O’Connell Middle and Alameda High School.

I joined the active Army in 2006, and then joined the Army National Guard in 2012 when I returned home. I started attending college at Red Rocks Community College and now I’m studying civil engineering at the University of Colorado-Denver.

My time in the service

While I was in the active Army, I was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, and deployed to Iraq for 15 months (from 2007 to 2008) and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany with the American Forces Network. I did public affairs work, and broadcasting.

During my time in the National Guard I was activated to support operations during the Black Forest Fire, the West Fork Complex Fire, and the Boulder floods.

House Resolution 748 …

I had heard about this bill, which would extend GI benefits for an extra year for vets who are pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees. A lot of these degrees require more than four years of schooling, and many vets don’t have the same requisite classes others do. I’ve burned a lot of my GI benefits just getting to the same point many start with.

I know Congressman Ed Perlmutter does community events like Government at the Grocery Store and Commuting with your Congressman along the light rail. I take the light rail to get to campus every day, and since they always say talk to your congressman, it was a no-brainer to talk to him.

Just a few days after I told him about the bill, I heard he decided to co-sponsor it. It was great to see results that fast.

Reinvesting in veterans …

The GI Bill doesn’t just provide benefits for veterans. It’s an investment in veterans, and we give it right back to the economy. It helps provide the transitional support we need to get back into civilian life.

Vets are very hard-working and resilient, and we want to take that work ethic into our lives when we’re done serving. If you invest in vets, the payback is great for everyone.

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