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      He left the military in 2016 and returned to Fresno with his wife, Lisa (“my rock,” he says), and their daughters, Haley and Mackenzie. The Air Force had changed him. “It led me to who I am today – someone with inner drive and confidence,” he says.
But enrolling at Fresno State seemed complicated after so many years away from school. “Then Dr. Bernard [associate dean Daniel Bernard] laid out the process in the Veterans Education Program and helped take care of the red tape. It took away so much of the stress,” Louden says.
He found a kinship with other students in the program. “We knew where each one of us was coming from, and that helped a lot,” Louden says.
As part of his nursing education, he worked with supervision in the ER where he cared for the dehydrated man. He also spent time in a hospital intensive care unit and discovered that’s where he wants to work. “The challenge of caring for the sickest of patients is something I enjoy,” Loud- en, 43, says.
Louden had to forgo a traditional commencement ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic, until this May. The pinning ceremony for nursing graduates might be held later this year, he says, but in the mean- time he’s philosophical about the delay. “In the nursing world nothing is predictable. Nurses learn to roll with the punches. It’s like that in the military – you adapt to change and you press on.”
The Veterans Education Program helped Louden do that very thing.
“ It seemed too good to be true,” he says.
“The people in the program were instrumental helping me regain my confidence about school.” - Louden
   A C C E S S - The Division of Continuing and Global Education 19

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