2016 Tillman Scholar
Deborah learned the value of service and sacrifice at an early age growing up on a small farm, homeschooled by her parents. She and her siblings joined the military for its tradition of sacrifice, dedication and excellence. Together, they wanted to be part of something greater than themselves. But Deborah never foresaw that a personal tragedy from the Afghan War, which almost claimed the life of her youngest brother, would ultimately push her to separate from the military and answer another call to serve as a doctor.
In the days after her brother’s injury, Deborah gathered with family and friends at Brooke Army Medical Center. There, as he fought through intense agony, she witnessed an outpouring of compassion, commitment, and sacrifice from his team of surgeons, nurses, and caregivers. Inspired by their skill and dedication to saving her nineteen-year-old brother’s life, she made a promise to begin the long journey toward a career in medicine. Now, as a Tillman Scholar at the University of Michigan, Deborah is focused on pursuing medicine, in large part, due to her brother’s lead surgeon at BAMC. While committed to working with veterans and their families, she hopes to someday be able to provide the same honest encouragement that her brother’s medical team gave to her family.