In the Fall of 2014 Emperor’s College officially created the Office of Veterans Relations (OVR) within the school’s new Office of Public Affairs. Working across the college, OVR engages with and serves vets in the school’s clinic, the MTOM and DAOM programs, and the community as a whole. In the short period of time that OVR has been active, enormous steps forward have been made…and they are just the beginning.
The activities of the Office are jointly administered by the school’s Veterans Liaison, Nicole Wetherington, clinic manager Lisa Ahlstrom, and Veterans Community Liaison Nathan Pughe. Wetherington is a former Army Sergeant that worked in intelligence and Pughe, an Emperor’s alum and current clinic technical supervisor, is a former Army Sergeant.
Since opening the OVR, the college’s clinic has created a veteran’s program that provides 6 free treatments to all vets and active duty personnel, and thereafter provides treatments at a deeply discounted rate. The clinic has also opened the ear clinic up to treat vets free of charge. “We have provided well over a hundred treatments to veterans in the clinic in the last year and are working to substantially grow that number in 2016,” says Lisa Ahlstom.
The school’s administration, students and alumni have also joined forces to treat well over 1,000 veteran’s at numerous vet events throughout the greater Los Angeles area, including LA’s 4th annual Women Veterans Summit, the city’s 6th Annual Veterans & Family Resource Expo, and most notably the 2014 Los Angeles Veteran and Families Stand Down which served over 1,800 homeless and at-risk veterans, the largest event of its kind ever in the United States.
This November, the school will organize all the AOM activities at the West Los Angeles VA’s Stand Down, the first event of its kind on the grounds of the West Los Angeles VA, and in December will do the same at the 2015 Los Angeles Veteran and Families Stand Down. The 2015 Stand Down is expected to serve over 2,500 homeless and at-risk vets over its three days and Emperor’s expects to treat between a third and half of them. Emperor’s College is one of the core organizers for the 2015 event along with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Los Angeles County’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, The Mindful Warrior Project, the Employment Development Department for the State of California, and US Vets.
“It’s been an exciting year for the college in many ways, from the high national ranking to being asked to coordinate all the AOM services at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games last summer, but in many ways that all pales in comparison of importance to our veteran’s initiatives,” says Chris Johnston, the school’s Director of Public Affairs. The sentiment is echoed by Lisa Ahlstom, and Nathan Pughe, “To be of service to those that have served is an enormous honor, we are so grateful for the opportunity to help our vets in need and educate them on the tremendous value of Oriental medicine.”