CAP Testimonial: James Knuppenburg

I was injured May 31st, 2010 in Afghanistan. I suffered a gunshot wound through the brachial plexus and received numerous surgeries. After the majority of my surgeries, I began intensive impatient occupational therapy. It was there that I met Jim Regan and the Lead the Way Fund (LTWF) team. Jim and his team made sure that if there was anything that they could do to help they would find a way to make it happen. On several occasions, my mother needed help getting from upstate New York to Walter Reed Medical Facility to help support my road to recovery. LTWF provided funding to help her with transportation. After several months into my treatments, I was cleared to drive and LTWF paid for me to fly to Savannah, Ga, to get my personal vehicle. This allowed me to get away from the hospital and visit my family in New York, in between treatments. This freedom alone aided me in recovering mentally and physically.

Once I had submitted my paperwork to the Army for a medical retirement review, I was contacted by an old Ranger buddy who told me about the opportunities at Columbia University and how LTWF was willing to support me in my transition out of the Army, through their Collegiate Access Program (CAP). I decided that it was an opportunity that I could not pass up, so I began the Columbia University application process. Standing true to their commitment to helping transitioning Rangers interested in advanced education to navigate through the complicated process of selecting and applying, there was not one step throughout the application process that I felt alone. LTWF seamlessly guided me through my Columbia application.

Once my application was submitted, LTWF informed me of a program called the Warrior Scholar Program (WSP) that helps veterans transition to college with a two-week academic boot camp to help prepare for the rigors of college. LTWF covered the transportation to and from the course as well as other expenses incurred during this time. Once I was approved by my chain of command, I left for Cornell University to attend the WSP.

After being accepted to Columbia University, there was still a lot I needed to know to prepare me for my first semester. Once again, I knew exactly who to call. I contacted LTWF to ask them about housing options, disability services, and any other help they could provide with class scheduling. I met with Myles Grantham on several occasions to go over my options for classes and any disability services paperwork that needed to be completed. With LTWF`s assistance in this big transition in my life, it allowed me to focus more on my school work, thus enabling me to attain a 3.55 GPA my first semester.

Currently Lead The Way has provided me with information on several scholarship options and networking opportunities. I continue to maintain a great relationship with Myles as well and look up to him as my mentor here at Columbia University.