Indiana Tech grad honored for making difference for vets

February 9, 2019 GMT

For at least a generation, the Marines have been known as “The few. The proud.”

Aaron Slatton was once a member of the vaunted Corps, and on Friday he was honored as a member of another select group.

Slatton, 30, was recognized at Indiana Tech, where he works as a recruiting specialist in the college’s Military and Veteran Services office, for starting a group for students who are veterans. The local chapter of the Student Veterans of America has helped build tiny homes for homeless veterans and helped to support those with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was named a TIAA Difference Maker 100 honoree last year. The New York financial services firm celebrated its centennial in 2018 and selected 100 people around the country “who have made significant contributions in their communities and throughout the world.”

Slatton and others honored received $10,000 donations from the company for their organizations.

“Aaron’s work is adding a new dimension to supporting military veterans on campus,” Steve Herendeen, vice president for enrollment management at Indiana Tech, said in a statement. “His efforts to bring awareness to the unique abilities of former service members are inspiring. He’s making a difference on our campus and in our community.”

An Indiana Tech graduate, Slatton started working with veterans at the college two years ago. He served in the Marines in Japan, California and Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012.

He said transitioning from military service to college campuses can be confusing for veterans. There are about 550 veterans enrolled at Indiana Tech, and Slatton helps them navigate potential problems such as paying for school.

The money from TIAA will be used to pay for a space on campus dedicated to veterans.

“This is for all the veterans,” Slatton said. “One of the goals when I started here was to create a space for veterans here.”

TIAA honorees represented nonprofits focused on health and wellness, education and technology, veterans, the environment and other topics, officials said. The company accepted applications for the Difference Maker 100 program, and a panel of judges winnowed thousands of submissions.

Slatton’s is one of two applications selected as winners from Indiana.

A Catholic nun in Gary was awarded $10,000 for an organization she runs for homeless and at-risk women.

“We could think of no better way to commemorate our centennial than to celebrate the people we have a mission to serve : the millions of nonprofit professionals driven by purpose and service : and to help enable them to continue having a positive impact on the world,” TIAA President and CEO Roger W. Ferguson Jr. said in a statement announcing the honorees. “Each represents an inspiring story that epitomizes what it means to be a difference maker.”