Duell Shaw with his wife Bethany on interview day at BCOM.

Duell Shaw knew from an early age that he would one day join the military. By the time he graduated from high school, all his friends had signed up and were fighting overseas. “I had to go,” he recalled.

At the Army recruiting station, an infantry airman pushed him to become a combat medic if he wanted to see action and have a skill set if he got out of the military. The position did indeed give Shaw an opportunity to “scratch both those itches.” He served with the 10th Mountain Division from 2009 to 2013, during which he was awarded the Combat Medical Badge. In order to receive this award, the individual must be performing medical duties while simultaneously being engaged by the enemy.

After the Army, Shaw was halfway through nursing school when combat buddy Doc Joshua Errett called him up. “He and I fought side-by-side; he is one of the best light fighters I now,” Shaw said. “Errett told me he was making his way through Special Forces selection and that this was where we belonged. I wanted to join a higher tiered fighting group after Afghanistan, but chickened out for fear of failure. Taking a step back and looking at my current track, I said in my heart, ‘Not again. Not this time. I will not chicken out. I will go for it.’ So I left the nursing program to apply for medical school. I set my path towards the biggest, meanest dragon I could see. Perhaps my coffee that morning had been extra strong.”

Shaw on patrol in Afghanistan in 2012.

Not only was Shaw accepted to the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he will begin classes in the fall of 2019, but he was also awarded the Southwest Foundation for Osteopathic Education and Research’s Friends of Military Veterans Scholarship. He said that receiving the scholarship not only boosted his confidence, it has given him the motivation and financial freedom to excel scholastically.

He said, “Every student has a small bit of doubt that a school truly wants them and that mayhap some small unfortunate thing will have their offer rescinded. The first thing I did after receiving this scholarship was slump over and go, ‘Okay, they really do like me.’ It raised my morale knowing that they believed in me and trusted that this monetary bolster will help a good cause. Battles are won or lost on morale. Over the past two-and-a-half years of pre-med, I have doubted all of it. But when a committee sits down to review files and says, ‘This one here, he’s on the right track, let’s give him some reinforcement,’ the doubt fades for a time and the end goal is made visible. BCOM and the Friends of Military Veterans Scholarship committee members have invested time and money into me. Therefore, I must carry on, I must do the right thing, and I will fight through. I have often stated at the end of my previous letters to scholarship committees ‘Let’s Slay Dragons,’ and here at BCOM I can tell we are going to do just that. Hooah!”