Indiana University Fort Wayne welcomes students that come from many walks of life. We are proud of each and every one of our students and their commitment to the health sciences field. In honor of Veteran’s Day, we’d like to thank those that have served our country and have since then dedicated their lives to bettering our community through wellness. Here are just a few of our student veterans that volunteered to share their stories.
School of Dentistry – Dental Technology
Robert Martin, from Attica, Indiana
Robert Martin served in the Navy for 8.5 years. During his time, he was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, Florida, and in the Navy Recruiting District in Nashville. Time was also spent aboard the USS Mustin DDG-89 and the USS Robert G. Bradley. Before joining the Navy, Robert worked with area fire fighters and EMS, but wanted to serve on a larger scale. His experience in the Navy involved mechanical and electrical engineering as well as being a part of the medical training team. After experiencing many injuries himself, he wanted to find something less physically demanding but mentally and technically challenging while still serving others. Robert is studying to receive his Bachelor of Science in Dental Technology. He hopes to manage a dental laboratory with the Department of Veterans Affairs following graduation.
School of Social Work
Sarah Goodson, from Columbia City, Indiana
Sarah Goodson served in the Army for 21 years and was ranked as Lieutenant Colonel before retirement. During her time, she was stationed in Arizona, Georgia, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, Seoul, South Korea, and Vicenza, Italy. During deployment, Sarah served in Bosnia, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Before joining the Army, Sarah had an ROTC Scholarship that led her to joining the Army full time. The experience has led her to Social Work, where she hopes to work with Veterans or persons with serious mental illnesses.
Michelle Keplar, from Seoul, South Korea
Michelle Keplar served in the U.S. Navy for four years before retiring to Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband, who is also a Vet. While enlisted, Michelle was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Michelle joined the Navy to give back to the country that had given her the best opportunity to be a successful and contributing member of society. Her time on active duty, as a veteran and as a military spouse led her pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW). Following graduation, she hopes to serve active duty or Veteran communities through professional therapeutic practices.
Benjamin Reusser, from Fort Wayne, Indiana
Benjamin Reusser served in the Army for five years, where he was stationed in Oklahoma, Georgia, North Carolina, Al Asad Air Base in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq, and Baghdad. Benjamin joined the Army directly after high school to follow in his father’s footsteps. However, his motivations to serve evolved as time went on. He began to see the difference he was making and wanted to continue making a difference following retirement. Benjamin’s experience led him to purse an MSW degree where he has a particular interest in working with Veterans that struggle with substance abuse and significant mental health disturbances.
Earlene Lamar, from Chicago, Illinois
Earlene Lamar served in the Army for four years and was a Rank E-4 Specialist. While enlisted, she served in South Carolina, Virginia and New York. Earlene joined the Army to build stability for her family and herself. The experience led her to become more culturally aware. Earlene is a first year MSW student and hopes to utilize her degree to serve Veterans in a diverse arena from all levels of social work practice.
Brandon DeArmond, from Berne, Indiana
Brandon DeArmond was a Staff Sergeant for the United States Air Force, where he served for six years. During his time, he was stationed at Beale Air Force Base and was deployed to serve in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Brandon joined the Air Force to build a better life for himself and have some direction. He says his experience with the Air Force is 100% the motivation behind his career choice. As a combat Veteran that struggled post-deployment, Brandon saw how effective therapy and medication management can be for recovery. Following graduation, he would like to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs and assist Veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries.
Brent Ratliff, from Fairmount, Indiana
Brent Ratliff recently retired from the Army National Guard. He served a total of 21 years with the United States military, 15 years with the Army National Guard and six years with the Air Force Reserve. During his time, Brent was stationed state side and in Afghanistan. For a number of Brent’s friends, the mental and emotional toll of serving was unbearable and their lives were taken through suicide. This fact motivated him to pursue a mental health degree where he hopes to serve within the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist those navigating the VA system and to promote Veterans getting the care they need.
Denial Cannon, from Fort Wayne, Indiana
Denial Cannon served in the U.S. Navy for four years, where he was stationed in Virginia on the USS Portland LSD-37. Denial watched his family members serve his country and grew up wanting to follow in their footsteps. His experience in the Navy taught him to work hard for what he wants and to never settle. Today he is a third-year MSW student and hopes to help all people, not just Veterans, that are struggling with their day-to-day life so they can realize and reach their full potential.
Renee Hood, from Kendallville, Indiana
Renee Hood is a retired Captain for the United States Air Force where she served 11 years. While enlisted, Renee was stationed in California, Montana, Alabama and Alaska. She is proud to have served her country and says it was an honor to wear the military uniform every day. Following graduation from the MSW program, Renee would like to work with Veterans or families who are involved with the military.
School of Medicine – Medical Imaging
Lauren Wiese, from Indianapolis, Indiana
Lauren Wiese is an E-4 with the Air National Guard and has been serving for three years. So far, she has only been stationed in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but has enjoyed being able to serve her country. Lauren would like to be a Radiation Therapist and says her experience with the Air National Guard has made her more responsible, disciplined and motivated.
School of Medicine – MD Program
Kristopher Bosi, from Chicago, Illinois
Kristopher Bosi served in the U.S. Army for a total of eight years. While enlisted, Kristopher was stationed in California and Afghanistan. He was drawn to the army because he wanted to serve and protect our nation. While serving, Kristopher became aware of his own mortality and wanted to live a meaningful life. Following graduation, he would like to work in Family Medicine or Emergency Medicine in a rural healthcare setting.
Jeff Oury, from Fort Wayne, Indiana
Jeff Oury served in the U.S. Army for roughly 13 years following the September 11 attacks. He has been stationed around the U.S. and spent over four years deployed in the Middle East, Europe and South America. In 2015, Jeff left the Army to pursue medicine, a passion that was fueled from his time in the military. Today he is a fourth-year medical student at IU School of Medicine – Fort Wayne. Following graduation this May, Jeff wants to continue his training and specialize in trauma surgery.