2019 Tillman Scholar
Steve watched the towers fall as a sophomore on Sept. 11, 2001 and remembers watching the beginning of the “Shock and Awe” campaign on CNN when the military began bombing Baghdad. He turned to his mother and stated, “I am going to go over there and fight for our country some day.”
Steve joined the Air Force in January 2007 as Security Forces. He volunteered to deploy to Baghdad, Iraq from September 2008 to September 2009 and patrolled the streets that he watched be bombed on CNN years ago. This is where he discovered his passion for medicine as he trained for the Combat Lifesaver certification. He learned the value of teamwork in healthcare and the deep sense of reward that can come from helping others in need.
While deployed he met Lt. Helton, a good man who worked hard to exceed his potential and to help others. Lt. Helton lost his life in Iraq. This greatly impacted Steve and inspired him to exceed his own potential and help others as a memorial to a man who no longer had that chance. Once he separated from the military, he dedicated himself to becoming a Physician Assistant (PA). By becoming a PA, Steve hopes to provide holistic and patient centered healthcare to those in rural areas by working in the Emergency Department. He plans on working for those less fortunate than him who cannot help themselves. He persists in expanding on the lessons learned in the military in order to continue to serve others.