Veteran and Goodwin University student Samuel Ferrucci has provided decades of service to his country, and now works as a lieutenant in the West Hartford Police Department. He considers serving “an honor” and was enlisted in the Army for 21 years as an airborne combat medic, retiring from the military with the rank of First Sergeant. Sam joined the Army in 1993. Around 2001, he was making the difficult decision whether to continue in the service or retire. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Sam made the courageous choice to re-enlist.
Memorializing Mortality: The Battle Brothers Sam Fought Alongside and the Ever-lasting Bond they Share
Sam’s Army reserve unit was activated shortly after the September 11 attacks. During his deployment, he was a member of the 947th Forward Surgical Team, a specialized group of 20 servicemen with surgically invasive capabilities stationed in Afghanistan. Their mission was to stabilize soldiers who would not survive without immediate operating intervention. Using an old goat shelter as an operating room, Staff Sergeant Gene Vance was the unit’s first United States Army fatality.
“He will always be remembered as a hero,” Samuel stated.
“I met Major Dwayne Kelly during our premobilization training at Fort Bragg,” Sam shared.
“We were both deployed to Iraq, where I was assigned as the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) Team Medic. We were both police officers, so we talked about our civilian police careers.”
Upon arrival to Iraq, Sam was stationed only 30 minutes away from the bomb blast that killed Major Kelly in action.
“[He] is a true American hero,” Sam asserted.
Combat and Community
When asked about any misconceptions civilians may have about the service or the lives of soldiers, Sam admitted, although not having experienced it himself, he’s heard that some employers believe many soldiers have PTSD and can’t function in their jobs.
As a result, those who valiantly served their country are leaving their military service off of their resume.
“Soldiers have gone out in combat and have seen things, but that doesn’t mean they can’t function and be a part of our community,” Sam explained.
Community is one of Sam’s favorite aspects of his time in the military service.
“I really loved getting to travel the world and meet different people and understand different cultures,” Sam described.
Ghana, a country in West Africa, was his favorite country that he traveled to while deployed.
“We conducted a humanitarian medical mission there,” Sam detailed. “The mission included dental and medical exams, treatments, veterinarian exams, and treatments, and we also provided education to the community about malaria. I instructed CPR classes too, and the people were extremely thankful and eager to learn.”
“For me, the community is larger than the neighborhood that you live in,” Sam started. “I believe that in this world, we are all connected globally. Community is treating everyone with fairness and respect and always looking to help others regardless of where we are, as members of a global community.”
Although Sam appreciated immersing in culture and dining locally during his deployments, he was undoubtedly comforted when coming home for the final time in 2014.
Home Sweet Home
“It’s always a great relief to be back on U.S. soil and be with your family,” Sam admitted. “The stress of the unknown is wicked. Returning is also a time for your body to understand that it is now safe and no longer under immediate or imminent attack,” he disclosed. “It does take time to transition.”
As an example, Sam explained that “overseas you have minimal choices. When coming home, even simple things like having such a variety of choices at a grocery store can be very overwhelming to a soldier, but having a great support system helps.”
Sam and his wife, Kristen, were married a few days before Sam was deployed to Afghanistan. They have been married for 18 years. When crediting his wife for all that she does while he is serving our country, Sam made it a point to mention that “families of service members have a lot of stress put on them, too — but they keep us strong.”
Sam and Kristen are both runners. Before getting back into an everyday routine with the daily grind of work, to help him transition, they would run, hike, and spend time together outdoors to best acclimate back into the civilian world.
From Soldier to Student
After returning to civilian life one last time, Sam also decided it was time to return to school. Having heard about Goodwin through word of mouth of friends and coworkers, Sam found “applying and enrolling to Goodwin an easy, convenient process.”
Sam applauds the academic institution for their online and in-person tutors and workshops provided by Goodwin’s Academic Success Center. Sam also celebrates the University’s Career Services team, which help students prepare for job interviews and networking events.
With evening classes available, Sam acknowledged the University’s fresh focus and flexible class schedule. “Being older and having a full-time job, Goodwin gave me the ability to continue my education as well as work full-time,” he credited. “One benefit that we have as veterans at Goodwin is that they give us priority registration, and I have no problem getting into the classes that I need, which takes a lot of stress off each semester.”
Having already earned his bachelor’s degree in Justice in Law Administration from a previous institution, Sam is finishing his prerequisites before applying to Goodwin’s Accelerated Bachelor’s in Science Nursing program. Sam is trusting his education from Goodwin will get him there. His ultimate goal is to retire from the police department and to work with wounded warriors, soldiers, and veterans in VA hospitals.
Professors with Passion
Goodwin University is listed among the top military-friendly colleges and universities. Highlighted for its educational benefits and resources tailored to the military community, Sam Ferrucci had nothing but positive things to say about Goodwin professors.
Sam complimented his Microbiology instructor, Dr. John Levesque, for making him enthusiastic about science again, learning a lot while having fun in the process. Initially hesitant about taking the challenging course, Microbiology ended up being Sam’s favorite class.
Erin Clark, Instructor of Computer Literacy, and Gregory McCarty, Instructor of Sociology, were also praised. “Both impressed me with their passion for education,” Sam noted. “It’s obvious that they value every student.”
Beyond the Battlefield, Educational Opportunities Await
Since attending Goodwin, Sam says his life has changed for the better. “Education is a lifelong journey, and I feel that Goodwin gives me the opportunity to explore different areas and provides different educational needs to meet my goals.”
Sam is excelling as a student at Goodwin University, with a 4.0 grade point average. When it comes to his outstanding grades, Sam attributed his success to his time in the service.
“One of the great things about the military is that you learn about discipline and time management,” Sam said. “And I make sure to put separate time aside for school, family, and work.”
Sam reinforced that for soldiers and veterans who may be considering applying to Goodwin University, “Goodwin is a great opportunity, especially if you’re on the Active Reserve side. The flexibility and online programs still give you the opportunity to serve while you earn your education.”
Sam Ferrucci is active in Goodwin’s Student Veteran’s Club, always willing to lend a helping hand. He has also been nominated for the University’s Veteran of the Month.
A Valued Veteran Student’s Salute
“Before my military service, I took for granted the men and women who serve in the military,” Sam professed. “Soldiers are protecting us 24/7 around the world so we can maintain our freedoms.”
So, on this Memorial Day, amid music, beverage, and barbeque, take a moment, even if it is only one minute at 3-o’clock, to remember the bravery of the beloved soldiers who never made it home. In that minute, also take the time to reflect on their families, who were left with nothing but the folding of the flag and a memory.
“Think about all the men and women who have sacrificed and died so that we could be free,” Sam suggested. “Also think about their families and loved ones who are still here. If you know a military member who has passed away, reach out to their families and let them know you’re thinking about them today.”
Are you a member of the military or a veteran looking to join the Goodwin family? If so, thank you for your service. Please feel free to check out the opportunities we offer our service members!
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.