The Behan Law Group, P.L.L.C.


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945 N. Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Spring 2024 Behan Law Group Military Veteran Scholarship Winner

Each semester, The Behan Law Group offers an award of $1,000 to support the higher education of military veterans, current service members, and their children. Our scholarship also requires the applicant to submit an essay discussing how their experience affected their academic and career goals and they plan to use their education to positively impact their community.

Rashid Cole

Rashid Cole

A veteran of the Iraq War, Rashid’s life has been a story of discipline, leadership, and perseverance. He is pursuing a master’s degree to serve the community and fellow human beings better. Read Rashid’s essay to understand his grit and determination to be the best he can be.

Read Rashid’s Essay:

A Path Forged by Service: From Military Veteran to Community Advocate

From the humble streets of Florence, Alabama to the battle-hardened terrains of Iraq, my life has been a series of defining moments that forged an indomitable spirit. Rooted deeply in the legacy of my resilient grandmother, Ruby Mae Saffold, my journey was punctuated with adversity. The discipline, leadership, and perseverance cultivated during my military service, from my enlisted days with multiple deployments to my transition into an officer rank, have heavily influenced my academic ambitions and career goals.

Military Transition: From Enlisted to Officer

In 2004, at age 21, I found myself deployed at Forward Operating Base Marez in Iraq, serving as a soldier. It was a harsh and immediate introduction to the realities of conflict, with danger as a constant companion. One of the gravest incidents that shook me was when an insurgent, dressed in an Iraqi security forces uniform, infiltrated our base. He detonated a suicide bomb in a mess tent, taking the lives of 22 individuals and injuring approximately 72 others. The horrific scene, the lives lost, and the sound of the blast are etched into my memory, a reminder of the human toll of war.

Being enlisted in the military provided me with invaluable experiences that became the bedrock of my leadership abilities. While I had learned discipline, teamwork, and dedication as an enlisted soldier, the transition to officer rank offered a different set of challenges. As an officer, I was tasked with greater responsibilities, guiding my subordinates, making critical decisions, and representing the very best of what the military stands for.

Military’s Influence on Academic and Career Trajectories

In January 2015, I embarked on a new chapter of my professional life, becoming a correctional officer at USP Atlanta, a medium-security federal prison. This career move was more than just a job; it was a mission, rooted in a deep sense of duty and public service that had been instilled in me through my military experience. It was an opportunity to make a tangible difference in a challenging environment, to maintain safety and order while upholding the dignity and humanity of those in custody.

As the lead correction officer in the disciplinary unit, my responsibilities were immense. Every day, I supervised 159 inmates, each with their own emotional disorders and disruptive patterns of behavior. This environment was rife with potential for rapid and volatile changes, and required constant vigilance, unwavering discipline, and an empathetic approach. It wasn't just about enforcing rules; it was about understanding people, about striking the delicate balance between authority and humanity. Every decision could have significant consequences, making sound judgment not just an asset, but a necessity.

The stress of this role was significant, but the resilience I had developed over my lifetime – from my resilient upbringing to the intense pressures of military service overseas – fortified me. My experiences have taught me to remain steadfast under pressure, to adapt and respond with clarity and purpose, even in the most heated moments. My role as a correctional officer is not merely a job; it is a continuation of my service, a manifestation of my commitment to contribute positively to society, even in the face of its darkest realities.

Parallel to my demanding career at USP Atlanta and my ongoing military duties, I also pursued higher education. Determined to further equip myself with knowledge and skills, I enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program. This was no small feat. Working full-time in a high-stress job, fulfilling my military obligations, and being a dedicated student required an extraordinary level of commitment and time management.

I would work long and taxing shifts at the prison, attend to my military duties with the same level of dedication and professionalism that had seen me rise to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and then, in any spare moment I could find, I would be a student. Night after night, I poured over textbooks, wrote papers, and engaged in class discussions online or in the classroom. My life became a carefully choreographed routine of work, study, and service.

Beyond the battlefield and the prison walls, my military experience significantly shaped my academic aspirations. The military instilled in me an unwavering belief in continuous growth. It's this belief that propelled me to pursue a degree in Information Technology (IT) while juggling my demanding roles in the military and the prison.

This academic pursuit wasn't just about personal growth. It became a beacon of hope to demonstrate that with determination and discipline, one can overcome the most challenging circumstances. My education in IT opened a new world of opportunities, fueling my passion to use technology as a tool to bridge societal gaps.

Community Impact Through Education

With the skills and knowledge I've garnered, I envision a future where I can be an agent of change in my community. Drawing from my experiences, I aim to establish community tech centers to provide essential digital skills training, making technology accessible and beneficial for all.

Furthermore, mentoring holds a special place in my heart. By sharing my story of resilience, from an enlisted soldier to an officer, from a small-town boy to an IT professional, I hope to inspire the younger generation. I want them to understand that their backgrounds don't define their futures; their determination does.

Additionally, my unique journey positions me perfectly to advocate for veterans transitioning to civilian life. With firsthand experience of the challenges involved, I am committed to ensuring that veterans receive the support, respect, and opportunities they deserve.


Life has been a journey of service, resilience, and continuous growth. From enlisted ranks to officer status, from the hallways of USP Atlanta to academic corridors, each chapter has enriched my perspective and fortified my commitment to serve. With an IT degree in hand and a heart full of passion, I am poised to leverage my experiences to drive positive change, ensuring that the legacy of service, epitomized by my beloved grandmother and my military journey, continues to illuminate the path for others.

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