COP student also proud Tillman Military Scholar
Second-year pharmacy student Will McCracken holds a unique distinction among his peers: for the past two years he has been a Tillman Military Scholar.
Pat Tillman was an Arizona Cardinal football player who put his career on hold to serve his country. In 2004, Tillman was killed while serving in Afghanistan. In 2008, the foundation named in his honor set up the Tillman Military Scholars program.
This program is designed to support the educational needs of service members and their spouses. The program covers books and tuition and other needs such as housing and child care. Helping veterans and their spouses to achieve their educational goals and become leaders in the community are important goals of the Tillman Military Scholars program. According to the application website, the selection of Tillman Military Scholars is “based on their strong leadership potential and drive to make a positive impact on others through service.”
For McCracken, service has always been a large part of his life. He was born at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and traveled with his family to a number of other bases during his childhood. It was not a surprise that he enlisted in the United States Air Force after high school. In total, McCracken served more than eight years in the military.
The last six years of his service were with the Air Force Reserve in Health Services Management. During his annual tours, he was assigned to an Aeromedical Staging Squadron, which provided patient care and transportation of critical and non-critical patients to higher levels of care within 72 hours.
“During one tour in Germany, we saw troops coming in from Iraq and Afghanistan,” McCracken explains. “These experiences led me to the medical side of things and created a desire to help people. I became passionate about helping my fellow troops.”
That same desire helped lead him to the College of Pharmacy and is also inherent in his plans for the future.
“After graduation,” McCracken says, “I would like to go back to the military, but I also would like to help fellow veterans. The VA hospital would be the perfect opportunity for me. Since I grew up in the military and was in active duty, I can provide more support to veterans as I go about my work as a pharmacist. I understand what most veterans go through, and I can use my experience to build a rapport with them.”
For more information on the Tillman Military Scholars program, visit their main website.
By Larry Hogan Jr.
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