CLEARFIELD — Scott Winters’ story includes being an Air Force brat, service to his country, overcoming personal struggles, and now, offering much-needed support to service members in need.
Winters spent the majority of his early life in Wyoming, where his father worked for the Air Force in the ICBM missile silos. His parents were originally from the Clearfield area.
When they returned in 1999, Winters completed high school at Philipsburg-Osceola.
In the fall of 2000, Winters began his college experience at Lock Haven University Clearfield, when the campus was still in the trailers at the Hillsdale Elementary School.
He spent two years at LHU Clearfield and then transferred to the main campus in the fall of 2002, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May 2005.
“I went to school all year round,” he said. “I wanted to complete my degree as quickly as possible.”
Following graduation from LHU, Winters moved back to Wyoming. While there he was a member of the Army National Guard and spent six years working in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) program as a full-time National Guard Soldier.
This is where his personal struggles began. Substance abuse and post-traumatic stress consumed his life.
“I decided to move back to Pennsylvania in 2012 to be closer to my family. This transition was very difficult on me, because at that time, the military was all I knew,” said Winters.
He experienced many low points during this period and decided to reach out to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help.
During his therapy at the VA, Winters learned that he could use his personal experiences to help other veterans who struggle with many common mental health ailments affecting service men and women.
He decided to go back to school to train in a helping profession. With support from his alma mater he started down a new career path.
“I reached out to previous professors at LHU, who to my surprise, remembered me. Dr. Tamson Six and Dr. Greg Walker both wrote exceptional letters of recommendation, and I was accepted into the Masters of Social Work Program at West Chester University,” said Winters.
Winters graduated with a 3.9 grade point average and was hired as a readjustment counselor at the Dubois Vet Center, which provides combat veterans and their families a wide array of counseling services.
This fall, he will take his exam to become a licensed clinical social worker.
He also shares that in June of 2017, he married the love of his life; they now live in Clearfield.
Winters attributes much of his success and the ability to turn his life around to the experiences and relationships he made during his time at LHU.
“Lock Haven University taught me how to learn, how to study and most importantly how to write. It gave me a wonderful foundation that truly helped following my challenges,” said Winters.