For American Education Week, "GMA" is taking a closer look at the state of education in the U.S.
Jamie Springston has always had a passion for serving other people. It's why he first became an EMT and then later joined the U.S. Navy as a medical corpsman in 2009.
Springston's experience as an EMT proved valuable. He ended up helping his fellow service members in the Marine Corps while he served.
"The Marine Corps doesn't have a medical department so they use Navy corpsmen to provide medical services for them," Springston, 35, told "Good Morning America."
After seven years, which included service in Afghanistan, Springston said he was honorably separated. But when he returned home to the U.S, he said the transition back to civilian life was a challenge.
"We've lost some friends since we've gotten back, which is still connected to the overseas trauma," said Springston.
Springston said he had severe PTSD, and he soon turned to alcohol to try to alleviate his feelings.
"Lots of little things would start taking me back to places that I didn't really want to be any more," Springston said. "I didn't seek help for a long time till it started getting really bad and the not-so-pleasant memories took over. So I had to constantly drink to keep them away. Then it just made it worse. I didn't want to be here anymore."
But a fellow veteran with whom Springston served in Afghanistan, and had even helped treat when he was injured overseas, stepped in during Springston's time of need.
"He talked me into the VA and that's the day I went inpatient for a little while to get my drinking under control and to work on my PTSD," Springston recalled. "He was in one of the vehicles that got blown up."
Springston credits his fellow veteran for helping him get his life back on track.
After he got sober, Springston found his way to Marshall University in West Virginia.
"I walked on the campus as a 34-year-old freshman, a very nontraditional student. I was uncomfortable. I was scared. I was fresh in recovery," Springston recalled. "And I said, 'There has to be someone else here like me.'"
That's when Springston learned about Student Veterans of America (SVA), a nonprofit organization that connects veterans who are students to lift each other up as they pursue higher education and achieve their career goals.
Springston was so inspired by SVA that he applied for a job at the organization and now serves as the Marshall University Student Veterans of America chapter president. Today, he's on his way to earning a degree from Marshall, and credits SVA for helping to save his life.
"It's opened up doors for me that I didn't dream would be possible. It's given me empowerment. It's showing me how diverse and inclusive a veteran community can be," Springston said. "It saved my life."
Springston wants his fellow veterans to know that a transition to civilian life is possible, and SVA can help.
"It's a very difficult transition sometimes. But finding that chapter on a university or campus, it's something that will change the way you go to college, where you experience college and beyond," he said. "Student Veterans of America is there to help you with every part of that transition and past it."
ABC News' parent company, The Walt Disney Company, is also donating $1 million to support Student Veterans of America and its mission.
"Just over 10 years ago, we launched an initiative called Heroes Work Here, which was designed to hire veterans. We had a great desire to, in effect, give back to veterans who had served our country so well and we believe that by obviously providing more job opportunities, that was a great way to do that," Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.
"And since then, we've hired over 15,000 veterans, which is a great story and they've proven to be wonderful employees of the company," Iger's statement continued. "Our donation to Student Veterans of America is designed to actually teach veterans to educate them after they've served our country, to even better prepare them for the workplace, to get jobs, not just for Disney, but for any entity out there."