Chase Hartzell is a husband, a father and a University of Nevada, Reno junior majoring in physics; he is also a veteran. Hartzell was honored by the Disabled American Veterans with a $1,500 scholarship which he plans to use for books and tuition this spring.
Hartzell went into the United States Navy at the age of 17, enlisting with parental permission, and spent eight years on a ship and nuclear submarine during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict, before being honorably discharged due to a leg injury. Hartzell was ranked an E6 Machinist Mate 1st Class who specialized as a nuclear power plant operator. He was awarded a scholarship at a banquet last month organized by the University's Veteran Services Office.
In attendance were members of the local Lady Vets group, a community organization, Justin Brandenburg, a regional representative from Nevada Senator Harry Reid's office, as well as a representative from Nevada Senator Dean Heller's office.
"It's encouraging to know there is this overwhelming support to help veterans like myself try to accomplish their dreams after they get out of service," Hartzell said.
He explained the struggles he endured upon being discharged from the Navy, including the only job he could get at a pizza restaurant. In the last year, he said, he feels that he has thrived, not only as a student, but as a student worker in the University's physics department machine shop and doing some public relations work on the side, including for the McLean Observatory at the University's Redfield Campus.
"It's hard for me to express the degree of gratitude I have for programs like this that help out veterans," Hartzell said, struggling to find the words for how grateful he is. "By looks alone, I don't look like what you would expect to see in a disabled veteran, and it takes a large degree of humility to swallow that pride. It's very humbling. There is no lack of gratitude on my part."
Hartzell has plans to get his bachelor's degree in physics then continue school for a doctorate degree in the same field of study. He feels he was taught great skills as part of the Navy, and in the future would like to work toward teaching those same skills to others. He is currently a part of the Wolf Pack Veterans, a University organization on campus that supports student veterans.