Nate Pryor knows life can change in the blink of an eye.
Pryor was deployed by the Army in Afghanistan when his best friend was killed by a roadside bomb. It was this defining moment that led Pryor to rethink who he was and his life’s purpose. He considered how to honor his best friend and the other men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country.
After returning home, Pryor - like a lot of veterans - struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. He had a hard time finding his place in the civilian world. When entering the military retirement program, he witnessed firsthand the lack of care, empathy and treatment veterans like himself received.
“It was as if the military had decided we weren't of value to them anymore, so they didn't need to treat the collateral damage of our service to our country,” Pryor said.
“I was deeply offended, but also energized. I realized it was up to me to take action to try to help those who felt lost as they prepared to leave their home in the military and face a new reality.”
It was this insight that inspired Pryor to study physical therapy. He completed his undergraduate degree at Regis and was accepted into Regis’ Doctoral of Physical Therapy program.
“As a Jesuit university, Regis is focused on core Jesuit values. Two are of the utmost importance to me: service to others and care for the entire person,” Pryor said. “Regis really is like a big family. This University focuses on the cultivation of relationships, giving back to others and sets the standard when it comes to the quality and expertise of their faculty.”
Pryor has accepted a position at Rehab Visions, a physical therapy clinic in rural South Bend, Washington. He hopes to use this position as a stepping stone toward one day opening a clinic that specializes in sports physical therapy, a nonprofit branch of which would treat homeless veterans.
“Veterans need to feel empowered. They need to be able to reclaim the sense of purpose they lost when their military mission ended,” Pryor said. “I'm looking forward to the role that I will play as a physical therapist in helping my fellow veterans overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams. I'll be fulfilling a pledge that dates back to that terrible, fateful day in Afghanistan.”