That man is Jay Musson, trustee for the Musson Foundation, member of the University of Akron Foundation board of directors, Adjutant of American Legion Post 808 and a Vietnam Combat Infantryman Veteran whom served in 1968 and 1969. Musson participated in more than 50 combat air assaults earning the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Valorous Unit Commendation.
In 2011, the Musson Foundation donated $220,000 to build a 21st century Veterans lounge inside the University of Akron. This lounge offers student-veterans a place to relax, study and enjoy the same camaraderie that they experienced while serving their country.
Musson started American Legion Post 808 at the University of Akron in 2014 and it has since, become the largest post of its kind in the country.
“Being a veteran and coming back from Vietnam to here and really being on my own, I remember that vividly. I don’t want those kids to go through anything like that,” Musson says. “(Vietnam) was a whole different war. There are just a lot of administrative hassles that these kids are dealing with now. If I were a student coming back now, I would feel lost among all the benefits: Title this or Title that, or timing issues with receiving money. Those are the things we are trying to overcome.”
Pictured above: Mr. Tim Oldani and Mr. Jay Musson
Mr. Musson enlisted the help of a Legion service officer who is an alumnus of the school. With a goal toward easing transition burdens, post members have also lobbied the university to create a special veterans-only English and composition class, received a spot on the school’s Military Veterans Steering Committee, and facilitated a more welcoming environment for student veterans by starting an annual tailgate before a football game that recognizes the post and veterans at the school.
Tony Stevens, a sociology major and Post 808 member, joined the post in hopes of finding some of the camaraderie he enjoyed in the military.
Pictured above left to right: Mr. Tim Oldani, Dr. K. Todd Houston, Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, Mr. Jay Musson, LTC Bradley Harvey
Stevens, an active participant in veterans initiatives, has become the posts sergeant-at-arms. He says the campus post model is something that student veterans at other schools are well-positioned to replicate.
“Hopefully, people around the country can use our post as a model and do what we are doing.,” he says. “Veterans have a lot of experience, a lot of stuff to share, and a lot of good to do for people.”
“The Legion’s mission at work: Veterans Helping Veterans”
**Further Information about Post 808 and the Musson Veteran’s Lounge can be found at the following links**