RCBC alum goes the extra mile in supporting local veterans
Monday, Nov 07, 2022

Photo of Mike Hamlin and Thomas Nuara

Readjusting to daily life after returning as a veteran is no small feat. From the housing crisis to food insecurity, returning veterans often face the strife of a staggering adjustment period back home. For veterans like Mike Hamlin, an RCBC alum, there is nothing more important than doing everything possible to ensure fellow vets are supported when they finally come home. 

Hamlin began at RCBC in pursuit of a degree in electrical engineering. He also served as an avionics technician for the Marine Corps, making him a GI Bill student. At RCBC, Hamlin found the registration and course process simple to navigate, with the college’s Military Education and Veterans Services able to step in for any issues and resolve them quickly. Rowan College staff were accommodating and informative, especially since he applied during the pandemic.

As an avionics technician, Hamlin diagnosed and solved technical issues. Thus, taking courses at RCBC was the perfect way to expand his knowledge and experience, and even connect with other veterans in the area.

In one class in particular, Public Speaking, Mike was able to connect with Professor Thomas Nuara, who shares a passion for charitable work. Upon learning of Professor Nuara’s charity organization, JF Party Dragon, Mike knew that he wanted to do everything he could to help out. 

Hamlin “jumped right in” to the charity work, beginning to campaign and promote an upcoming concert to raise money and awareness to support returning veterans. Mike had a great deal of free reign in gathering as many donations as possible, selling a large number of concert tickets to the American Legion Post in Pemberton, who also provided a sizable donation to JF Party Dragon. The process was also aided by word of mouth among local communities, especially through VFW posts, whose members donated and bought tickets as well.

Regarding the conversations he had with members of local communities while raising awareness, Hamilin stressed the importance of “learning what [veterans] really need.” He explained that it is essential to charity work to truly understand the needs of the people you’re serving before you can consider how to go about meeting them, and that is exactly what JF Party Dragon and the charity concert achieved. 

The concert itself was headlined by local performer and “The Voice” finalist, JSoul. Donations and funds raised reached over $4,000 for veteran support, and Hamlin stressed that he could not have done it alone. In terms of raising awareness, he explained that “every bit counts.”

When it comes to veterans affairs, “most people care about the people they know…but there are so many people who go unnoticed for what they do.” Mike knew that he had to do everything he could to offer help, and truly listen to the voices of communities he intended to support and serve. 

According to Hamlin, the ability to see the impact of charity work is incredible. “Anytime we help someone,” he explained, “whether it be with information or a free meal, seeing the recognition of someone who truly understands what they’ve been through makes all the difference.” With Professor Nuara, JF Party Dragon, and his own charitable work, Mike understands that doing the right thing can be as simple as communicating directly with those in need, and providing the right space for veterans to ask for help when they need it.

To learn more about JF Party Dragon, visit https://www.jfpartydragon.com. To learn more about RCBC’s Military Education and Veterans Services, visit rcbc.edu/vets.