For Michigan veterans, life focuses more and more on home, baby, school, work

Holly, Mich. — Just in case a six-month-old baby and work weren’t enough to keep Tyler and Rosemarie Kenny busy, the two have added school into their schedules as they continue to move toward a life that is centered less and less on the military.

“We’re pretty much consumed with school work, and taking care of Aedan,” Tyler said. “It’s tough. I’m working a full-time job, plus I’m still in the National Guard. … We’ve kind of got to work out homework schedules between the two of us. It’s kind of tough taking turns late nights … but it hasn’t been bad thus far.”

Rosemarie also was in the National Guard, but now she’s done and glad to be out.

“I got out in July, and it’s been amazing,” Rosemarie said. “It’s really nice not having to go one weekend a month, and all of that.”

Tyler still has the monthly commitment and two weeks in the summer to train. Rosemarie said Tyler should not have to go for deployment for at least another year. She said they both knew their obligations going in.

“We just kind of work around it,” Rosemarie said. “The benefits that is has given us is way more than what we’ve given out. We’re appreciative of the military and where it’s gotten us today. We arrange our lives for it.”

The Kennys, who returned from Iraq in 2010, recently celebrated Aedan’s half birthday, which included all of the traditional birthday festivities. Aedan, who was born premature, has grown into a healthy, happy baby and the Kennys have a lot to celebrate.

“He’s doing amazing … he started sitting up a little bit on his own, there for a second or two,” Rosemarie said. “He’s smiling, laughing — he smiles at everybody, very friendly.

“I’m making all of my own foods, and we’re kind of going at our own pace because it’s a little bit more work, and I have to do more research on it,” Rosemarie said.

In addition to being parents, Tyler and Rosemarie went back to school at the beginning of September, with Tyler taking prerequisites for the master’s program in public administration at Oakland University and Rosemarie commuting to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti to finish her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Most days, Rosemarie is home with the baby, but on days she goes to school, her mother helps watch Aedan. Having a relative available makes it easier for her to leave Aedan for the long hours she is at school.

“I’m just going to school Tuesdays and Thursdays, I leave my house at 9:30 (a.m.) and I get home at 9:30 (p.m.).

She and Tyler both receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after Sept. 10, 2001.

Those who receive the support must choose an approved program and get accepted.

The government support “is pretty much one of the main reasons I wanted to go back to school,” Tyler said. “To maximize the benefits. It keeps us pretty busy, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.”

The GI Bill pays for about 70 percent of Rosemarie’s tuition because it is based on active duty time, but there has been other scholarship help available for her, including the National Guard tuition grant she used while she was still eligible.

“I’ve almost made it my entire degree without a student loan, so I consider myself very lucky,” Rosemarie said.

Rosemarie isn’t sure what she wants to do after graduation. She did consider law enforcement, but worries about Aedan having two parents in dangerous jobs.

As for Tyler, he said he enjoys his current job as a veteran’s adviser for Oakland County, but is thinking he may like to move up the ranks.

“I’ll probably stay; I like my job here with Oakland County. It might give me some potential to work my way up in the division. … It’s going to take at least four years or so to get my master’s degree, but we’ll see in the meantime.”

Contact Megan Semeraz at 248-745-4628 or email Megan.Semeraz@oakpress.com or follow her on Twitter @MeganSemeraz.

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About Lee Ann Colacioppo

I am the Senior Editor/News at the Denver Post. I have been at The Post sincd 1999 in a variety of positions, including city editor and investigations editor. I previously worked at The Des Moines Register, Greenville, S.C., News and Kingsport, Tenn., Times-News. I'am a Denver native and graduate of Drake University in Des Moines. View all posts by Lee Ann Colacioppo →