Meet James

Four tours overseas. Four college classes. Three kids. One dedicated soldier. James is getting his education and benefiting from the Veterans Employment and Training Services, VETS, at Gateway.

From an early age, I always knew I wanted to join the military. Going to school never really interested me and I knew working with my hands would be a better fit for me. While in the Army, I was an infantry soldier, meaning I was in the frontline of contact with the enemy. In total, I served four tours; two in Iraq and two in South Korea. I was injured during one of my tours in Iraq when the first vehicle IED (improvised explosive device), or car bomb, attack occurred. There were 64 total soldiers injured, and four that were seriously injured. I was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, the London Times, and other major newspapers. It was so chaotic.

Shortly after that incident, I returned home from Iraq. My wife and I got married and relocated to an Army base in Kansas. Over the next few years, I was deployed to South Korea and during my second tour in Iraq, I was able to come home for 10 days when my youngest daughter was born. I made it to the hospital just in time, 34 minutes to be exact! After suffering leg and traumatic brain injuries, I was recently medically retired from the Army after 10 years of service.

The Army taught me leadership skills and dedication, but I knew that I needed a formal education to get back into the swing of things in civilian life. I had taken some welding classes in high school and did some research on technical schools in the area; like I mentioned, working with my hands, rather than traditional classroom learning, has always been better for me. I learned about Gateway’s welding program and decided to enroll.

Gateway offers classes that are convenient to my schedule and allows me to get an education without missing out on time with my family. I learned so much from my experiences in the Army but the help I’m getting from the VETS program at Gateway is helping me succeed in achieving an education. I am more because of Gateway.

To learn more about how you can be more, visit the Gateway Admissions office.