New Motlow Veterans Affairs Coordinator champions a way forward for local vets

Motlow Veterans Affairs Coordinator Michael Neal served in the U.S. Army from 2002-06, the National Guard for a year, and then back to active duty from 2007-14. He now champions a way forward for local vets enrolled in Motlow State. (Photos Provided)

LOCAL NEWS — Working well as a team, having a sense of duty, and possessing a strong work ethic are just a few of the many reasons that veterans make excellent employees. The new Veteran Affairs Coordinator at Motlow State Community College is no stranger to transforming those qualities into a thriving civilian life.

Michael Neal started at Motlow in March 2021. A veteran himself, Neal has a unique insight that enables him to assist those with military service who attend the college. He served in the U.S. Army from 2002-06, the National Guard for a year, and then back to active duty from 2007-14. While serving with the 3rd Infantry Division, he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2005, Ramadi, Iraq in 2007, and again to Baghdad in 2010.

“Serving in the military teaches skills that contribute to success in college. Things like time management and attention to detail that are engrained into your daily life help you balance your coursework with your family and professional lives,” explained Neal. “You have to be motivated, organized, and efficient to manage multiple full-time obligations. Military service also brings unique experiences and points of view into the classroom.”

Neal gained leadership experience from the Army while serving as an instructor for the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course, and as an Operations Sergeant for the Field Artillery Captains Career Course and Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. Prior to arriving at Motlow, he was a financial aid specialist at Northeast State Community College.

“My co-workers are fantastic. I have yet to find someone who is unwilling to help even if the topic at hand does not fall into their specific job description. At the end of the day, students come first,” said Neal.

Neal completed an Associate of Science in Computer Applications, with honors at American Military University. He also graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Management from the same school. He said he is considering a graduate program in the future.

“Veterans should absolutely consider Motlow State for the quality of education along with ability to work classes into the schedule you already have. Not being tied down with a traditional class schedule allows you to maintain your other responsibilities and obligations while going to school,” said Neal. “Having campuses located throughout Middle Tennessee also means you have easier access to campus no matter where you live.”

The Veterans Affairs Office at Motlow assists Veterans, and eligible disabled Veteran’s dependents, in requesting educational assistance from the Department of Veteran Affairs. The college currently offers short-term workforce training through MotlowTrained. This training is cheaper and faster than attending traditional classes. To find out more about short-term training, visit

Motlow grants credit for military service and training for current and former servicemembers. Many Veteran students qualify for credit for prior learning. For more information, contact [email protected], or call 931-393-1529. •

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