ENMU Veteran Helps Other Veterans

Gretchen Leigh, an executive secretary at Eastern New Mexico University, has established a veterans-assistance telephone line and organized a Veterans Resource Event earlier this year.

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PORTALES, NM (07/27/2017) Gretchen Leigh, executive secretary to Clark Elswick, vice president of technology/system CIO, doubles-down as the secretary for the University Computer Center at Eastern New Mexico University. She has also established a veterans-assistance telephone line in her office and fields questions or issues veteran students have and/or directs them to the appropriate office/person.

She also emails self-identified veterans with information they may not have, but can use, or sends them leads on employment/career fairs.

She organized the first Veteran Resource Event this year and would like to continue that tradition at ENMU in the coming years.

Leigh started at ENMU in September 2015 and "feels fortunate to be so warmly included into the ENMU family."

Leigh has an associate degree in general studies from Macomb Community College in Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Park University. She is currently a grad student at ENMU in the College of Business, pursuing a master's degree in business administration (MBA).

She first went into the Women's Army Corps in 1973, during the Vietnam era. She went to basic training at Fort McClelland, Alabama, secretarial training at Fort Jackson and was stationed at Fort Ord, California. Leigh was "encouraged" to agree to a discharge for pregnancy after almost two years.

Seven years later, she decided to go back into the Army, so she enlisted again-and had to go back through basic training. From there, she went to training in communications at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Her assignments included Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Heidelberg, Germany, Fort Hood, Texas and San Diego, California.

Her favorite times were recruiting in her hometown of San Diego.

"That was a rewarding job for me, and helped for me to have a successful corporate recruiting career when I left the Army," Leigh said.

After the Army, she joined Robert Half International and helped to start other recruiting companies similar to them. She was also with Pitney Bowes for six years and was their Enterprise Solutions Consultant of the Year for North America operations.

A few years ago, Leigh decided she wanted to give back to her fellow veterans, so she left the corporate world to become a Disabled Veteran Program Specialist for the State of Texas.

"It was extremely rewarding for me to help veterans or their family members. I've always helped companies make a lot of money, but this job was, by far, the greatest job I ever held," Leigh said. "I helped veterans get jobs, complete medical paperwork, enroll in school, etcetera."

Leigh ended up in Portales two years ago when her step-father passed away and her mom needed help. Her three sisters are now in the area, too.

Besides her twin daughters, Leigh has three teenage grandchildren who live in Florida and Arizona.

To contact the veterans-assistance telephone line, call 575-562-2195.