National Guard member and nursing major prioritizes service to his community
Before attending Pacific Lutheran University, Justyn Freeman ’23 served in the Air Force for six years. Now, he is a senior nursing major and will soon begin his residency at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. Justyn is a current member of the Washington Air National Guard, and participates in service related activities on and off-campus.
“I wanted to travel,” Justyn says about his reasons for joining the Air Force. “I have been able to visit places I never would have seen otherwise.”
Justyn’s travels with the Air Force included trips to Japan, South Korea, and parts of Europe. After six years of service, Justyn decided to attend PLU, drawn in by the nursing program and a chance to live in the Pacific Northwest, one place he had not yet seen. PLU’s acceptance of the GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program made PLU an even more accessible choice. He was also the recipient of the Robert and Jean Reid Family Foundation Scholarship in Nursing Leadership Don F. and Ruth E. Bayer Memorial Nursing Scholarship.
After moving to Washington State, Justyn joined the Washington National Guard. In recent years, National Guard members have been utilized to help manage the Covid-19 pandemic. Justyn served at a number of local food banks.
“The Washington Air National Guard provides camaraderie, a sense of team, and a duty to serve,” says Justyn. Service to his community is an important part of Freeman’s life.
“It is beneficial to help the community as a whole, just to give back,” he says “Nothing really exists in a vacuum. We can’t really do anything without the help of others.”
This past November, Justyn served as the coordinator for PLU Nursing’s Delta Turkey Basket Drive, which provided Thanksgiving meals for 215 families. “Coordinating takes a lot of communication and effort, but the end result is worth it,” he said.
After graduation, Justyn will begin his residency in the cardiac ICU of St. Joseph Medical Center. He hopes to gain years of nursing experience so he can eventually have a commission as an officer for disaster responses in the Washington Air National Guard.
“I hope to use my nursing experience to benefit the guard and the local community,” says Justyn.