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Thanks in large part to 14 years in the United States Marine Corps, I have
had the opportunity to see more than 100 foreign countries and earn a
Bachelor's degree, two Masters and a Doctorate. None of those directly
involved Wake Forest, which I attended for three semesters before
volunteering for the military.
So why have I included Wake Forest in my estate plans? For one thing, it is
the only real campus community I have ever known and the only college I
chose to attend; I undertook my other studies remotely through affiliations
brokered by the military.
But there's something else. As a gay man whose military service ended when
I honestly told authorities of my sexuality, I am heartened by Wake
Forest's commitment to serve the LGBTQ community. This is manifested by
programming, staffing and even an emergency financial aid fund that assists
students whose families have shunned them.
I am also motivated by my military experience. I survived two plane
crashes, one of which led to my capture and a six-month stay as a guest of
North African rebels. Any prisoner of war - and any combat veteran, for
that matter - will ask, "Why did I live? Why did I get to come back when so
many others did not"?
I believe I'm still here so that I can help those in need. I serve on the
boards of five volunteer organizations and have started my own non-profit,
Helping Our Brothers and Sisters, because I feel an obligation.
And I am proud to add Wake Forest to my estate plans. Although my stay as a
student was short, it was impactful, and I am pleased to see how the
University has welcomed the LGBTQ community on campus.
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