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    A passion to serve, help others: Immigrant’s life goals lead to becoming Soldier, U.S. citizen, nurse

    A passion to serve, help others: Immigrant’s life goals lead to becoming Soldier, U.S. citizen, nurse

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Aven Santiago | Spc. Benhur Ayettey, a member of the Ohio Army National Guard who immigrated to the...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Aven Santiago 

    Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

    Immigrant to the U.S. from Ghana. Registered nurse. U.S. Army Soldier.

    These are among the descriptive titles that help identify Spc. Benhur Ayettey; all stem from basic principles that have guided his life — to consistently seek self-improvement, coupled with a passion to serve and help others.

    Ayettey immigrated to Columbus from Accra, Ghana with his family when he was 16. At a young age, he had a passion for helping people and wanted to get a job in the health care field. Soon after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Ohio Army National Guard and went to basic combat training (BCT) in 2014.

    His path through BCT was different than his peers. While most Soldiers start their military journey in basic training stressing about physical fitness tests or drill sergeants, Ayettey faced a different type of pressure in addition to the normal ones — a naturalization test to become a U.S. citizen. While his fellow basic trainees spent whatever free time they had writing letters home, resting and relaxing following the day’s training or preparing for the next day, Ayettey focused most of his available time on studying for the naturalization test. After spending several hours a day studying U.S. government and history, Ayettey finally took the test.

    “It was intense because you had the stuff you already had to do in basic training and then you have the citizenship stuff to think about,” said Ayettey, currently a member of the 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, based in Columbus. “I really wanted to serve. I liked what the military was about. I liked that they were willing to pay for school and to help me grow.

    “It was kind of like juggling balls, but I knew how important it was to me,” he said. “I always saw people in the Army as very disciplined, uniformed and structured, and I wanted that in my life.”

    A few days later, during a special ceremony, Ayettey breathed a sigh of relief as his name was called as a BCT graduate as well as a U.S. citizen.

    “It was exciting. It was very liberating,” Ayettey said. “I remember seeing my parents there and it felt good to see them after a long couple (of) months.”

    Ayettey joined the Ohio Army National Guard as a combat medic to follow his passion of helping people. During advanced individual training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, he became proficient in administering emergency medical care during both combat and humanitarian situations. He also learned first responder skills and how to triage illnesses and injuries to help save lives. After becoming an Army health care specialist (combat medic) and earning the 68W military occupational specialty, the native of Ghana learned his new medical credentials were applicable to a civilian nursing program through Columbus State Community College (CSCC). The education and skills he gained through the military directly transferred to Columbus State’s Advanced Standing Nursing Program, allowing Ayettey to take an accelerated path through his registered nurse (RN) associate degree curriculum, much faster than some of his classmates.

    “Trying to help someone under pressure, while under stress, is a whole different ballgame and (AIT) trained me to the point where I was able to think under pressure,” Ayettey said. “I was very confident (in) my skills during the nursing program, because I had already done some of the skills prior to coming.”

    With his new RN degree from CSCC on his resumé, Ayettey soon started a new job as a nurse at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. While nurses in the field all have proper training and credentials, Ayettey’s supervisors said that it’s his military experience that makes him stand out among his coworkers and peers.

    “(Ayettey) is very dedicated; he’s a hard worker and very compassionate towards his patients. As a newer nurse, (Ayettey) seems like he has been doing this for a long time,” said Samantha Valentie, clinical nurse manager at OhioHealth Riverside. “When I think of the members that serve our country, I can see (Ayettey) in that light and I can only imagine that’s what he’s like, serving our community and country.”

    As in many aspects of life, including professional employment, good communications skills can be a key facet to one’s success. Ayettey said that he feels his strength in that area allows him to work with patients very effectively.

    “I think one big thing is my people skills. You have to know how to talk to your patients. They are people just like you and not another number; they have hopes and dreams,” Ayettey said. “(Combat medic) school taught me all of that, and I was able to apply (those) people skills to my job. People come in and families are stressed out. You have to make their experience less stressful.”

    Whether it’s serving patients in the hospital room or serving his state and nation in the Ohio Army National Guard, Ayettey says he is proud of his service and is passionate about helping the people he serves.

    “I think it’s very rewarding. At the end of the day, I want to be a productive member of my community,” Ayettey said. “Being able to do that, military-wise, whether it be going to drill or the mission at hand, then going to work and helping people in their daily lives, I think it’s very fulfilling.”



    Date Taken: 05.12.2022
    Date Posted: 05.12.2022 14:32
    Story ID: 420588
    Location: COLUMBUS, OH, US 

    Web Views: 169
    Downloads: 2