Tri-C Veteran of the Year to be Honored Nov. 11
October 31, 2014
Cuyahoga Community College’s Veteran of the Year, graduate Andre Dowdy, will be honored at Cleveland’s Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at City Hall.
Dowdy, 55, spent 11 years in the U.S. Army and continued his service after being discharged. Today, he is a quality assurance assistant at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland’s University Circle, and he loves his job.
Asked how he felt about being named Tri-C’s Veteran of the Year, he said, “The more exposure I get, the more I can help veterans.”
The Cleveland resident is serious about helping those who served.
Before moving to the Stokes center, he worked as a medical support assistant at the McCafferty Community Based Outpatient Center on Cleveland’s west side and helped homeless veterans find shelter and financial assistance. He once took a veteran to the hospital only to discover the man had a brain tumor. Dowdy may have saved his life.
“They say you can’t pick your family, but I did,” he said of his fellow veterans.
Dowdy joined the U.S. Army in 1977: “My mother told me I had to find something to do,” he said. “So a friend and I were out and we walked by a recruitment center. I said, ‘That’s what I am going to do.’”
He enlisted that day.
Dowdy initially was part of the Army’s field artillery branch. He has traveled to Germany, Korea, Egypt, Holland and more.
“I spent three years out in the woods, and it was cold out there,” he said. So he moved over to computers and finished his military career in “intelligence.” He attained the rank of sergeant.
Dowdy said the military instilled in him a sense of discipline and confidence. Still, he was not sure what to do when he was discharged.
He and his wife, Linette, moved from Baltimore to Cleveland, Linette’s hometown, in 1991. Dowdy took jobs at the Department of Finance and Accounting Service, Williams Lee (an international corporate information solutions company) and BP in America, but nothing was clicking.
Linette encouraged him to look into the Veterans Upward Bound program at Tri-C. He said he never would have gone to college had it not been for VUB, which guided him through the whole process and even helped find him his job at the VA.
Dowdy earned a national Veterans Upward Bound Scholarship in 2012. He earned his associate degree in liberal arts at Tri-C and plans to attend Cleveland State to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work.
Dowdy is a member of the Veterans Advisory Council and has been nominated to serve on the board of the Legal Aid Society.
“I never would have went to college,” Dowdy said. “But once I got going, I realized this is not that bad. I started liking class. Life has been good since.”