Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

A Hero to the Heroes

By David R. Botello


Every day you pass them in

the hallways. You sit next to them in

class, unaware of the sacrifices they

have made to keep America safe.

Veterans are just like you. There

aren’t any flashing lights or neon

signs over their heads making them

easy to recognize. Mark Elliott seeks

out these veterans and is eager to

lend a helping hand.

Elliott’s official title at HCC is

Veterans Benefits Advisor, but to

those who have sat down with him,

Elliott is much more than that. Most

days, vets patiently wait at Elliott’s

office, sometimes for hours, just for a

moment of his time.

Elliott’s outgoing

personality and easygoing

attitude make him a perfect fit

for the job that was created just 15

months ago with people like him in

mind. Five years ago, after serving

in the Army for 30 years, Elliott

retired with the rank of command

sergeant major. His dedication

to helping fellow service

members has been a

lifelong passion.

“I loved

A Hero to the Heroes

By David R. Botello

taking care of soldiers when I was in

the military,” Elliott said. “As a leader,

you’re constantly taking care of your

men and women, looking out for their

welfare and everything else, and so

that’s what I’m doing now.”

Elliott, 51, was born in Alabama,

but as an Army brat grew up all

around the world. While serving

in the Army, Elliott had the chance

to venture to all parts of the globe.

His devotion to his country shines

through to his current duty station,

which serves a new generation of

veterans seeking information about

health care and education benefits.

With new education programs,

such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, veterans

have the opportunity to excel in the

classroom like never before. “You

paid the price for this; don’t let it be

wasted,” he said.

When asked about the reward of

helping fellow veterans achieve their

goals and dreams, Elliott responds as

only he can. “Oh man, it’s awesome,”

Elliott said. “I can get up in the

morning, shave my face and look in

the mirror and be happy, and I can go

to bed at night and feel good about

what I’m doing.”

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