Nearly everyone has heard the story of Pat Tillman; a decorated collegiate athlete and NFL football player, who walked away from a lucrative contract to serve his country after we were attacked by terrorists on 9/11. He served with honor and died tragically, protecting his fellow soldiers and his country. But his story did not end on the side of a hill in Afghanistan. The Pat Tillman Foundation was started by Pat’s widow and family after he was killed, to support veterans who leave the military to pursue higher education. Pat’s enduring legacy is not the tragic story of an elite athlete who died, but the celebration of a remarkable life that continues to inspire and empower. His name lives on through his family, the foundation, and the Tillman Scholars who proudly wear it.
I am one of those scholars.
Serving on active duty in the Army was and is one of the proudest achievements of my life. My career spanned 9 years, 3 deployments and innumerable schools and training missions. I was honored to serve on an A team as a member of the Army’s elite special operations unit the Green Berets. Along the way I had the pleasure of traveling all over the world, meeting people from all walks of life and culture and above all, serving the country that I love. After 9 years of service I decided to leave active duty to pursue a career in medicine as a Physician Assistant.
I was honored to be selected as a scholar for class 2015. Going back to school after 10 years is difficult particularly when you have a family. The Tillman foundation played a huge role in supporting us while in school and continues to be an influential part of our lives. After graduating I was able to pursue my dream of continuing to serve full time in healthcare at the Mayo Clinic in Southern Minnesota.
The Tillman scholarship program is growing every year and scholars are regularly being recognized across the country for their innovation, commitment and service. Tillman Alumni regularly participate in community service events throughout the country.
On October 19th I will be running the Mankato Marathon with Team Tillman to raise money for future Tillman scholars and give back to an organization that has given so much to me and my family. Your generous donation will go directly to support veterans who are pursuing careers after honorably serving their country, veterans who are reshaping the world.
For more information on the foundation and to view scholar profiles visit pattillmanfoundation.org
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