Baylor Student Veteran Awarded Soldier’s Wish Scholarship

Nck Harrington
L-R: Mark Ochsenbein (Soldier's Wish), Nick Harrington and Jessica Alford (Veterans Coordinator), photo: Robbie Rogers (Baylor Photography)
Feb. 6, 2017

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Feb. 6, 2017) – When Baylor University student veteran Nick Harrington walked into a local Subway restaurant to meet with the university’s VA benefits coordinator, he expected to have a quick sandwich and fill out some paperwork. Instead, he was met by a representative from Soldier’s Wish, who presented the sophomore communication sciences and disorders major with a $5,000 scholarship.

Harrington served in the Army for six years, including a deployment to Iraq in 2003 and rotations in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and now is not only going to school full time but is battling a rare form of thyroid cancer. He was nominated by Baylor VA coordinator Jessica Alford for the scholarship, which will pay for six months of his rent.

“I was completely surprised (by the award),” Harrington said. “There aren’t any words to express the amount of thanks and gratitude I have for everything. From the Baylor community to the folks at Soldier’s Wish, I can’t thank everyone enough. This scholarship is going to alleviate a lot of the financial strain that comes with everything I have going on right now.”

Harrington’s cancer was diagnosed last summer. He had surgery to remove his thyroid but found out in August that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in his neck, Alford said.

Harrington was referred to MD Anderson in Houston, where on Dec. 20, surgeons removed 81 lymph nodes from his neck. While in surgery, doctors found more traces of cancer in his laryngeal nerves.

“His expenses such as tests and surgeries were covered by the VA until he started seeking treatment from MD Anderson,” Alford wrote in her nomination letter to Soldier’s Wish. “Since then, he has had to pay out of pocket for travel, testing, medication and surgeries. He estimates the total of his out-of-pocket expenses to be around $7,000. He expects the VA to eventually reimburse him, but being a full time student and traveling to and from Houston has made finances tight while waiting on repayment from the VA. So much so, he felt compelled to sell his car to ease the financial strain.

“Any monies Soldier’s Wish can provide to Nick would greatly benefit him and those who are supporting him through his battle with cancer,” Alford wrote. “This scholarship will also help to alleviate the additional stress of pursuing his educational goals and his professional goal of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist to serve veterans and the general population.”

As he continues his studies at Baylor, Harrington will make trips to Houston for treatment.

Soldier’s Wish is a non-profit corporation founded in 2013 by a group of businessmen wanting to make a difference in the lives of veterans, active duty personnel and their families.

About Soldier’s Wish

It is the mission of Soldier’s Wish to identify unmet needs of veterans of military service regardless of branch or rank and identify or provide resources to meet those needs by providing needed support directly to the veteran service members and/or their families in order that such service members can lead normal and productive lives. "Veterans" may be those who have served only a short time and are still on active duty, those who served a single enlistment, those who were discharged due to their wounds, and those who retired from active duty. In addition, Soldier’s Wish will educate the public about the needs of the veteran’s and active duty communities and encourage the public to participate in meeting those needs by volunteering and other means.

by Kelsey Dehnel, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?