Veteran Keith Prather, who earned his master’s degree in social work in 2023 from Middle Tennessee State University, and the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center are featured in the January “Out of the Blue” television magazine program.
A Smyrna, Tennessee, resident, Prather is an U.S. Army Reserve veteran and chairman of the Tri-Star Veterans Resource Center in Rutherford County. He discussed his Army career (retiring as a chief warrant officer in 2019), his service to military-connected families and his experience as a graduate student who found his stride on campus thanks to the Daniels Center.
You can view the segment below:
Through circumstances — being laid off after COVID hit while living in the Washington, D.C., area and considering graduate school — Prather said he met Vickie Harden, MTSU social work associate professor, over the phone, a conversation that eventually led to a return to Tennessee.
“She was just so welcoming and inviting,” he said. “It just felt like the right thing to do.”
At MTSU earning a master’s giving him a license to go out and perform some services needed for the veteran population, he met Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller and Keith Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general.
“They were just open arms,” Prather said, adding, “introducing me to the MTSU Board of Trustees where I made a presentation, sending me to Nashville Sounds and Nashville Soccer Club games. Anything I could do to support the Daniels Center, I was there.” He also joined the Student Government Association, helped revitalize BRAVO, the student Veterans of America organization and wrote a song for Operation Song at MTSU.
“The Operation Song alumni group meets in our (Tri-Star Veterans Resource Center) building and we just became community partners with the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. Now we can expand services like mental health resources, have town hall meetings for the VA in our building and enhance our resource capability in the community.”
“Out of the Blue” with host Andrew Oppmann, vice president for marketing and communications, is available anytime on the university’s YouTube channel, the True Blue TV channel, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. It also airs on Murfreesboro cable Channel 9 daily at 6 and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; NewsChannel5+ at 3:30 p.m. Sundays and on other cable outlets in Middle Tennessee, so check local listings.
It is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Google Play and as individual interview segments on Spotify at https://spoti.fi/453hxg3.
Watch previous episodes of “Out of the Blue” at https://mtsunews.com/out-of-the-blue.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)