Everyone has an “aha!” moment when they know exactly what they want to do with their lives.
For Arthur Lyon, that moment came on a battlefield in 2006 when he watched an Army physician save a life.
“Our unit had just been hit with mortar fire, and one of our team was wounded in the neck,” recalls Lyon, 31, who graduates with a bachelor’s in biochemistry this month. “The surgeon used a ‘seashell bandage’ (a hemostatic bandage made from materials found in the shells of shrimp) to stop the bleeding instantly – it saved his life. And I knew none of the rest of us had the knowledge or training to do that. That’s when I understood the power of schooling.”
Lyon’s educational plans were delayed by a roadside bomb near the Baghdad airport in 2007. The explosion left him with a traumatic brain injury, and a renewed determination to become a doctor.
After recovering, Lyon used his GI Bill and VA Vocational Rehab benefits to take science courses at Front Range Community College. That prepared him for the CSU studies that would pave the way to medical school.
“I wasn’t a very good student in high school,” he says, but he did graduate – a first in his family. This despite “camping” in a car while his father was “between houses” after the family split up. Eventually he and two younger siblings lived with grandparents in Cheyenne.
Lyon went into the Army after high school, and over the next 10 years, became a staff sergeant in the infantry; he completed two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
“Arthur is just one of those individuals who just stands out,” says Aaron Sholders, a senior instructor in biochemistry and Lyon’s advisor. “He gets along with a variety of students and is completely focused on learning. I have no doubt he will be successful in medical school.”
Lyon is dedicated to helping his fellow veterans. He served as president of the CSU chapter of S.A.L.U.T.E. Veteran Honors Society, which recognizes outstanding student veterans and their achievements, and tutors veterans, either in basic college-level sciences or to help them earn a GED, for free.
Lyon and his wife of three years, parents of a boy born in September, recently moved from Loveland to Fort Collins. He will be rushing to walk in the College of Natural Sciences commencement on Dec. 17 after meeting with his dream school – the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Because Lyon’s ultimate goal is to return to the battlefield – as a combat surgeon.