Simple Man with a Plan

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Published on December 8, 2016

Coming into college, students who are veterans face a wide array of options regarding their pathway to a degree.  Navigating the paperwork and guidelines can be confusing to anyone who is just starting out.  In order to combat this, HCC has the services of Jeff Stewart, who holds the position of Veteran’s Representative.

Jeff was born right here in Bridgeport, thirty-nine years ago.  The East End of the city was where he was raised and as far back as he can remember, Jeff knew what he wanted to make out of his life.  Jeff’s father was in the Army, and a big part of his job was jumping out of aircraft.  He grew up watching his father jump, and spent summers with him at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  Before he was even ten years old, Jeff knew he wanted a military career.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Stewart

Photo courtesy of Jeff Stewart

At the age of eight, Jeff’s world was tipped upside down when just two days before his birthday, his mother was murdered as a bystander in a shooting.  Understandably, his father could not cope, and Jeff went to live with his aunt and uncle who finished raising him.  He credits their “strong family values” for helping him persevere through such a tremendous loss.  By keeping his mind focused on positive activities like sports, music, and dancing, Jeff was able to push through and make it into the Navy.  He was even given the opportunity to skydive with the Seals, who decided on that day to use the old Yankee Stadium as their landing spot.  

These days, back on land, Mr. Stewart is visibly active in plenty of organizations which not only help veterans, but also the rest of the community.  Currently the AMVETS in Shelton, American Legions in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Jacksonville, Fl, and the non-profit Me & The Boys Social Club can all point to Jeff’s name on each of their respective rosters.

HCC’s Veteran Representative has a message he would like to convey to veterans who are starting school here:  “HCC is a place where we are family.  I am here to help my fellow veterans because I was on the other side of the desk once, and did not know about the benefits and opportunities I had as a veteran.  When this position became available, I made it my business to spread the word, and let other veterans know what I have learned.  Come see me, and I will help you get the opportunities you deserve.”  

The determination and focus that Jeff has honed over the years is now being passed on to his children.  Raising happy, healthy kids is the most important goal on Jeff’s mind.  When he is not raising the kids or serving the community, Jeff enjoys cooking Italian, listening to music, hunting, dancing, fishing, and all four major sports.