Army veteran Zane Speegle finds purpose through education
As an Army medic, Zane Speegle was familiar with seeing the physical trauma of a war zone. Returning home, dealing with reintegration into a community and his hidden struggle with PTSD proved to be bigger challenges. After years of trying to find a purpose, he found that serving the active duty and veteran community was something he was passionate about. He set his sights on a role in medical administration but realized that he would need to earn a college degree.
Speegle turned to Brandman for his education after hearing about the school from a fellow soldier. Speegle cites disability services as a key to his success in earning his MBA. At Brandman’s Lacey campus, he found comfort and familiarity in attending classes with other veterans and service members.
Today, Speegle has landed his dream job at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma Washington. In his role at the hospital, he helps soldiers by streamlining operations and freeing up resources that go towards providing valuable services. By giving back, Speegle moves forward.
See Speegle’s commencement address.
Zane Speegle got personal during his speech to graduates at Brandman University’s Lacey campus. His time at Brandman played an important role in helping him heal.
Zane Speegle: I don’t know that there is a more significant role that was played in my mental health rather than Brandman.
Spiegel deployed twice to Iraq, once in a combat role, but it was his time as an army medic which triggered severe post-traumatic stress.
Speegle: You get the women and the children that come in with collateral damage whether it be from us or you know from somebody blowing up a bomb in the middle of a… market and that’s when you really get just torn up and so I spent many a year trying to drown my sorrows and my nightmares and it really took me a long time before I actually came out and asked for help.
He hibernated for years, deep and depression, before hearing about Brandman University from another soldier.
Speegle: Brandman is centered around military people, especially in Washington.
Brandman’s academic advisors help secure his GI Bill benefits and also provide disability services.
Speegle: I have carpal tunnel and so holding a book sometimes gets very painful, I would sit and talk to my computer and let it write my papers for me instead of having to type it out.
But at graduation, he focused on all that he gained. Speegle says his time at Brandman improved his mental health.
Speegle: With recent studies and reports of veteran suicide rates on the rise giving us relationships with others with similar backgrounds, giving us as a purpose and belonging, will go a long way in reducing this number.
Speegle is now working at Madigan Army Medical Center in what he calls his dream job, he’s using his degrees in organizational leadership and business to improve efficiency at the hospital.
Speegle: So that we can take care of the veterans and we can take care of the soldiers and so really you’re doing analysis on how many appointments you have in the system, you know, how can you improve that, how can you make more with the, you know, manpower that you have.
All thanks to his determination and time at Brandman University.
Speegle: I think really just increasing the access to care and the overall health care for the soldiers is really what brings me joy.
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