2017 Tillman Scholar
Andrew’s journey began as he watched the events of 9/11 unfold in a high school classroom in Shakopee, Minnesota. Feeling compelled to serve his country, Andrew ultimately chose to forgo a shot at playing hockey at the collegiate level after high school and instead enlisted in the U.S. Army. After completing infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia in 2004, Andrew was deployed to Iraq in 2006. While deployed, his unit was tasked with missions that included convoy escort, route clearance, Quick Reaction Force, and patrols. About six months into his deployment, Andrew and two of his comrades were badly injured when their vehicle was hit and destroyed while on a routine mission.
Andrew would spend seven months recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. His injuries included an open head wound and Traumatic Brain Injury, a shattered right leg from the knee down, and multiple cuts with glass and other miscellaneous shrapnel abrasions. Unable to return to his unit, Andrew returned to Minnesota where he continued his rehab, both physically and mentally.
Having experienced the challenges of reintegration, Andrew understands what it takes to be successful in the transition from soldier to civilian. As a combat veteran, Andrew understands the importance of being a part of a team, and has incorporated this concept into his study of psychology and the pursuit of his masters degree in clinical social work in order to help other veterans make a successful transition from military to civilian life.