14:09 PM

DAV’s Pelham Assists Other Vets

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Brad Pelham has been there and seen that. That makes him a perfect fit in his role as a Certified Service Officer (CSO) for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at Bellevue University’s Military Veteran Services Center (MVSC). As a CSO, Pelham offers advice and guidance to veterans who need assistance in a variety of areas, including how to fully utilize the medical benefits available to them.

“They hear about us by word of mouth and come here. We start talking to them and see where they're at,” Pelham said. “Sometimes we have to order their medical records and then take them through the steps they need to go through. We try to help them out in whatever way we can.”

While the MVSC is located on the Bellevue University campus, the center is dedicated to helping military and veteran students and all veterans and military personnel throughout the community who need assistance.

A troubled childhood led Pelham to join the U.S. Marine Corps in 1973. He had attempted to join the U.S. Army along with his brother, but while his brother was accepted, he was turned away. The Army recruiter pointed him toward the Marines. He didn’t see much hope of being included amongst “The Few, The Proud,” but gave it a shot anyway.

“They said, ‘Well, we see by your record that you already have close combat experience’.” Pelham related. “I joined to get out of the environment that I was in. If I didn’t get out of that environment, I knew exactly where I was heading and it wouldn’t have been a pretty place.” After 27 years of service, he retired in 2000 as a Master Command Sergeant.

“They gave me some goals to achieve,” Pelham said. “They took a punk and made me into a man.”

Once he retired from the Marines, Pelham enrolled in Bellevue University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems. He went through the cohort program with a group of ex-military folks, which created some instant camaraderie, along with the requisite amount of ribbing between the various branches of service.

“I thought it was great. It was fun working with all these Air Force guys,” Pelham said. “They broke us up into teams and I had two Air Force guys. Those two Air Force guys were no match for one Marine.”

Pelham, a disabled veteran himself, is ready to assist those in need. He can be reached at the MVSC at 402-557-7820 or mvsc@bellevue.edu.