After finishing his last final of the semester, Ian MacFarlane is ready to graduate from Texas State Technical College. But he isn't your average student.
"This program definitely brought my spirits up too, that I could actually accomplish something, not just military, but I could also accomplish something in civilian life," said MacFarlane.
MacFarlane served as a power generation equipment repairman in the U.S. Army for 10 years. He deployed twice to Afghanistan and Iraq before medically retiring in Dec. 2015.
"The second one was probably the worst one where I acquired PTSD and TBI and a little bit, well actually, quite a bit of anxiety," said MacFarlane.
His time overseas earned him a Purple Heart, along with memories that would be hard to forget.
"It changed me, for a long time," said MacFarlane.
He said medication, therapy and a four-legged friend named "TB" helped him to get better, along with a new purpose found in avionics technology.
"He's a hard worker. I'm truly excited to see what he's going to do," said Martin Segraves, avionics lead instructor at TSTC.
As a fellow Army veteran, Segraves understands how difficult the transition can be.
"The learning process of learning the differences between what we did in the military and what we do on the civilian side, it can be really challenging and really frustrating," said Segraves.
But there's no battle that a soldier can't push through and MacFarlane is living proof of that.
"Do things you love. Do things you enjoy," said MacFarlane. "You'll eventually get to the point where you feel normal again."
MacFarlane plans to move on to the Aviation Maintenance Program at TSTC after graduating this Friday. He hopes the added skills will lead to better job opportunities. He hopes to work with unmanned systems in the military in the near future.
MacFarlane is one of more than 400 students set to graduate on Friday.
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