Published on July 30th, 2021 | by University Communications


Boots to Books to offer assistance to student-veterans

Saint Leo’s student-veterans and military-affiliated students have a new opportunity to apply for funding for books.

Boots to Books, a 501c3 organization, and Dr. Luke McClees, director of the Saint Leo’s Office of Military Affairs and Services (OMAS), created a way for military-connected students to receive assistance for purchasing textbooks and supplies for classes.

Saint Leo students will be able to apply for the need-based program via the Office of Military Affairs and Services’ responses pinned on their Lions SHARE page or by contacting the office.

Faculty and staff are asked to refer students to OMAS or may contact McClees at

McClees routinely reaches out to students, and during the past year and because of changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, he found students who need extra help.

The pandemic caused employment and family education changes, creating hurdles for many of the university’s military-connected student population. This pathway and partnership is one of the latest forms of financial help that OMAS can connect students with to assist in financing their studies.

In addition, the office produced an alphabetical list of almost 200 reliable scholarships for which students may apply, and OMAS provides info on endowed scholarships as well as the emergency fund. This fund is used for students who face unexpected life situations.

Boots to Books is a veteran-led nonprofit organization that operates nationally to help veterans gain access to education and employment. Peter Cline, one of the organization’s co-founders was inspired to focus on this after going through his own transition from the military, McClees said.

As he was processing out of the military, Cline noticed the lack of information the government provided for those pursuing competitive education and employment for those leaving military service.

“He used this void and the help he received from a friend as the fuel to start helping others,” McClees said. The organization has helped more than 60 veterans in the last three months.

Students who are in need of the Boots to Book services should fill out the online form and indicate that they are Saint Leo University students. While assistance is granted on a need basis, this allows Boots to Book and the Office of Military Affairs and Service to follow up with the students.

For more information, email, or call (352) 588-6703 or (352) 588-8234.

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