Not long after he started his role as Director of Veteran Enrollment at The College of Saint Rose, Marty Dinan grew a beard.

“It’s funny the reaction I get sometimes when they see my business card, and it says ‘retired Colonel,” says Dinan, who has been the point person for veterans at Saint Rose for 1 1/2 years and graduated from the College with a degree in sociology in 1986. “They say, ‘I didn’t know you were a retired colonel, sir.’ I say, ‘The reason I grew the beard is to blend in with you guys. Don’t make me throw the colonel hat on.’ Some veterans don’t love officers, but I love my enlisted.”

Not only does Dinan love the veterans who come to Saint Rose as part of their shift into civilian life, he understands them. He’s a veteran of three wars, deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 with later deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was promoted to Colonel in the New York Army National Guard in 2013. He spent 19 years as a police officer, all while serving as a commissioned officer in various command and staff positions. He’s served in the active Army, the Reserves and the National Guard.

Read more here, and watch a video here.