INA, IL — Rend Lake College has named Lukas Keip as the March 2020 Veteran of the Month.
Keip, a Mt. Vernon resident, served in the United States Marine Corps from September 2015 to September 2019. He is currently studying engineering at Rend Lake College. Keip said he viewed enlistment as an opportunity to perform his civic duty.
“(The) first thing that came to me was doing my part as an American and serving my country,” Keip said. “I’ve traveled the world and been to places I’ve never thought I’d see and I’ve learned skills only the Marine Corps can teach you.”
Keip said those skills learned in the military have led to a more unconventional career path compared to some of his fellow service members.
“Usually every service member already had/has a career planned out. I was a Radio Operator in the communication field, but here I am pursuing engineering,” Keip said.
But that doesn’t mean his time in the Marine Corps puts him at a disadvantage when pursuing this degree. His military experience is paying dividends in the form of financial aid. Keip said he utilizes his service record to help cover college expenses while pursuing an education in engineering.
“I use both the Montgomery GI Bill® and the Illinois Veteran Grant. When used together, they pay for my tuition, fees, and books while also giving me a housing allowance since I can’t work as much. If you are a veteran, go to school to better yourself and society. You owe it to the ones who didn’t make it home,” he said. “I’m more prepared now for college since I can use my VA education benefits upon honorable discharge. I’ve given some years of my youth and in return, the GI Bill® was presented.”
Outside of RLC, Keip said he has many interests, but one sport in particular currently holds his interest more than others.
“I have many hobbies, but the one I’m trying to master is bowling. I need something in the winter to help pass the time. Naturally, one of my friends manages NuBowl Lanes in Mt. Vernon,” he said.