Brandon Corrales

United States Army veteran and YC student Brandon Corrales served in Iraq and was awarded the Purple Heart medal after suffering injuries sustained by an improvised explosive device in February 2010. Returning home after experiencing the horrors of war has been a struggle, but Yavapai College has helped keep him moving forward since his honorable discharge in 2013.

"Maintaining the sense of purpose that I had in the military has been difficult, but attending school at Yavapai College has given me that extra bit of motivation that I need to get up in the morning," said Brandon.

"I’m only in my second semester at Yavapai College, but I have learned so much already from my teachers, specifically Charles Lohman and Kara Giannetto."

Repatriating to American life has been a challenge for many returning vets, but Brandon’s difficulties were compounded with his diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Brandon Corrales"I suffered a traumatic brain injury from an IED explosion. I was manning my .50 caliber machine gun. As my vehicle passed under a bridge, an insurgent threw a Molotov cocktail at me, which exploded on the barrel of my machine gun, engulfing my entire body in flames."

Brandon is determined to overcome such setbacks and achieve his goals, which include becoming a certified personal trainer, pursuing a degree in Fitness Wellness at Northern Arizona University, and training for and participating in competitive bodybuilding. In spite of the difficulties of his recent past and the challenges that lie ahead, Brandon moves ahead, taking help where he can get it.

"Both the faculty and staff at YC have helped me get to where I am," Brandon said.

"The disability resource center has been very accommodating, and has helped my teachers understand my disabilities and how they might affect my work. The administration department has helped me understand my financial aid as well as approving my Purple Heart tuition waiver, which has made going to school more affordable."

In terms of value for money and time spent, Brandon believes that YC is the place for him. "This college has a number of certificate programs that you can complete in a reasonably short amount of time, some in as little as a year," said Brandon. "Yavapai College also has Associate degree programs that will transfer to most universities. They even have a program called YC2NAU, which has helped me find out exactly which classes will transfer when I attend NAU. Also, for my fellow veterans, this school is extremely veteran friendly and has a program called Veterans Upward Bound to help get you get back into the swing of school."