After an Unexpected Injury While Serving His Country, U.S. Army Veteran Richard Lehman Chose Plan B

Trumbull U.S. Army veteran Richard Lehman earns a Technical & Applied Studies bachelor's degree.

After an active service-related injury sidelined his military career, Richard Lehman Jr. began exploring his options and working on “Plan B.” And for this college-bound veteran, Kent State University’s Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies degree was there for him after the unthinkable happened.

Lehman joined the Army in 2010, deploying to Afghanistan twice just a year later and then again in 2014. Just before Christmas 2015, Lehman left the Army on a medical discharge after he sustained injuries while loading 30mm ammunition onto an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. 

He returned to the United States, settling in Diamond, Ohio, with his wife, Desiree, and two daughters, Arianna and Arabella. Lehman quickly pivoted and planned his next steps. 

“I wanted to get back on track as soon as possible,” Lehman said. “I don’t like to sit around. I looked into Kent State Trumbull because it was closer than most of the schools I had applied to, and when I skimmed the website, I noticed the campus is Military Friendly®.”

Because he was starting as a 29-year-old student, he was looking for a versatile and accommodating degree for someone who is a non-traditional learner and has a family. 

“The Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS) degree sounded like a degree that was flexible and that is exactly what I needed,” Lehman said. “The program has many options and it makes choosing classes much easier.”

The BTAS degree is designed both for students beginning their academic study and for students with an associate degree or some college-level coursework. It takes into consideration varied educational backgrounds and competencies. Students work with advisors to construct their experience and complete their degree.

Advancing through the program, Lehman not only learned applicable skills but found a home. He jumped into college life, working at the Computer Center and then the Learning Center as a tutor. In 2019, he was named homecoming king and represented the Trumbull Campus at Kent State’s homecoming event. 

In May 2021, Lehman served as speaker at the Trumbull Campus commencement and walked across the stage, having earned a BTAS degree with a minor in software development. 

Today, Lehman works as an IT analyst/support technician, running daily reports and handling some programming all while managing day-to-day issues addressing hardware and software, as well as administering the website for The Cadle Company in Newton Falls. 

“Maintaining a computer system is challenging,” Lehman said. “BTAS is a versatile degree that prepared me for encountering complex problems. I can quickly identify and apply different strategies to solve the issues.”

His family has grown since he started his “Plan B,” but Lehman says he wouldn’t have it any other way. He and Desiree plan to buy their first home so they have more room for their four daughters, Arianna (14), Arabella (8), Avalise (5) and Adeline (4). 

“It’s been quite a journey,” Lehman said. “The injury that ended my military career left me wondering what would be next. It led me on this path – working, being a husband and father, helping others – and, now, living happily in Northeast Ohio.”

Learn more about the Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS) degree at Kent State.

Bill Burgess,
Kent State Trumbull

POSTED: Thursday, November 17, 2022 11:20 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2023 07:16 PM
Bill Burgess, Kent State Trumbull