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This Dad Went From Battlefields to Solar Fields - COD Scholarships Matter
06/18/2017

He'd Survived Battlefields And Three Tours, Yet
The Scariest Trip He'd Ever Taken Was Coming
To College Of The Desert.

 
As Zachary Mullin came to the end of his four years of service in the United States Marine Corps, he contemplated joining the iron workers union when he returned home to Detroit. After discharge, with a one year old and fresh out of the Corps, he found no work. Zach decided to take action. He packed up a U-Haul and with his wife and two young children headed west with every dollar he had to his name inside his wallet. Moving back to Joshua Tree near the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base where he had been stationed while in the Corps, felt right. 
 
In spite of three deployments as a Marine, Zach calls the trip the scariest he ever took. He knew he was risking the future of his family. He didn’t know what would be waiting there. But he knew with every fiber of his being that if he wanted to go anywhere in life he needed an education and degree. And he knew where he wanted to pursue it – College of the Desert. 
 
He enrolled in his first class at COD in Palm Desert in 2014. Financially, the family struggles. Moving cross country to go to school was difficult. Even though the family barely makes ends meet, they value the experience because it makes them stronger. 
 
Scholarship support through the COD Foundation has helped tremendously with books, childcare and other expenses. College philanthropic supporters Patrick and Edeltraud McCarthy have created a special scholarship at the center that bears their name to make reliable childcare available for veterans who are students at the College. 
 
“The McCarthy scholarship changed my life. It was the biggest help of all.” His son has been going to school with him from the very first day, enrolled at the McCarthy Childcare Center at the same campus. 
 
I can’t tell you the peace of mind that provides a parent,” Zach says. “Knowing he’s right nearby and in good hands, I can focus on my studies.” 
 
Zach was raised in Michigan, a great place to grow up. He didn’t do well in school. Like so many young men, his focus was on other things. After graduating high school, he watched as his friends moved on. He began to realize he had to make a change if he wanted to make something of himself. 
 
A chance reading of an Outdoor Magazine article on Hemingway ignited a spark within him. He had never studied Hemingway in high school. But after reading the article, he could not get enough information about his grand life of one adventure after another. He was inspired to join the Marine Corps. His life changed forever. 
 
Zach calls his decision to join the Corps the best decision he’s ever made. Studying as a construction management major, Zach is doing well in school. The BIGHORN Golf Club Charities Veterans Resource Center has been a home away from home for Zach and so many vets like him. He does his homework there. If he’s not in class, he’s in the Veterans Center preparing for his next class. The staff there help keep him focused and on track. 
 
Thanks to College of the Desert, he’s positive he’s going to make it – confident his grand adventures have just begun. 
 
UPDATE ON ZACH: In fact, Zach is currently a Wind Turbine Technician at AES Distributed Energy. AES Distributed Energy provides solar power to schools, municipalities, utilities, as well as commercial and residential clients. They also develop, own and operate more than 50 MW of distributed generation solar PV projects across North America with an additional 100 MW in development in the US, Caribbean and Latin America. Congratulations to Zach and his family.