Veteran graduates from Kilgore nursing school - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Veteran graduates from Kilgore nursing school

Alexander Barroga (Source: KLTV/Alexander Barroga) Alexander Barroga (Source: KLTV/Alexander Barroga)

The tradition of 'pinning' for graduating nurses at an East Texas college was especially important for an army combat veteran today fulfilling a promise to himself. Kilgore College graduated 35 nurses from its program,  among them a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict, 31-year-old Alexander Barroga.

"It felt really, really exciting. So happy it's over. Studying and all those energy drinks they tell you to stay away from," he says.

But he's not your average student.

A nine year army veteran, a combat engineer with two tours in Afghanistan. This step at Kilgore College was only the first in a larger goal he has.
"Eventually I want to go back into the army as an army doctor. I want to be able to bring back my brothers and sisters. Because that's what they are," Barroga says.

His reason: One defining, heart-wrenching moment in the army.

"I was on funeral detail. They were lowering one of my brothers to the ground. And his little boy said 'Daddy, please stand up. They're putting you into the ground. Please stand up.' It really hurt me. If I could have been a doctor at that time, maybe I could have been there to save him," Barroga says.

That's why his goal is to rejoin the army as a doctor on the front lines.

"I want to be able to save lives, I want to go into a hot zone because I believe I can handle the pressure," the veteran says.

The bonds of military brotherhood have left a permanent mark on Alexander.

"You serve with a bunch of people and have camaraderie with them, and you miss them. I want to come back to be able to help them," he says.

Barroga is looking at a lengthy period of medical school and residency before he can re-join the army as an MD.

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