2017 Tillman Scholar
After numerous deployments and over a decade as an elite Air Force Pararescueman, it would have been easy for Rick to become numb to the extensive pain and suffering he saw. Rather than letting the tragic and intense lessons learned harden his heart, he used them to hone his mind and his life’s mission: create a positive difference in the lives he touches, whether it is providing medical care, teaching others, or just being a compassionate ear to a stranger.
Rick’s military career began when he left college, following the tragic events of 9/11. His desire to help others led him to enlist and begin the long and arduous journey of becoming a Pararescueman. He hoped the skills he would gain in training would help in the immediate need of ensuring our country’s safety. Over the course of his service, Rick was involved in operations as varied as life flight evacuations of critically wounded children to providing life-saving treatments of wounded soldiers on the ground amid ongoing combat operations. These experiences in combat rescue instilled in him a love of medicine and desire to further his knowledge to become the best possible provider. After being medically separated from the Air Force, Rick chose to return to school to become a Physician Assistant. He plans to work in Veterans Affairs so that he can continue to care for the men and women who have served this country.