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Joel Taft

 

Joel Taft 

“Thanks to the Veterans affairs support I received, I got the words ‘I can’t’ out of my head. And now that I’m here at MassBay it’s become a home away from home for me.”


Class of 2011
McKenzie Award Recipient


Joel D. Taft enlisted in the Army National Guard after graduating from Blackstone Valley Regional Technical High School in 2001 with a concentration in electronics. He was slotted to attend Basic Training in April of 2002, but then 9-11 happened. He moved up the schedule and on September 18, 2001, boarded a plane bound for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for Basic Training. “I don’t even know how to spell it, because everyone just called it Fort Lost in the Woods,” joked Joel.

Following Basic Training, on February 15, 2002, Joel returned home and continued his service as Military Police, assigned to the 772 MP Company out of Taunton for weekend duty. On July 7, 2002 Joel was activated and deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan.

For the next 10 months, Joel was attached to the United States Special Forces and assigned to convoy and base security detail. “I spent a lot of time driving to the border and back for supplies,” he said. He rarely went a month without seeing combat – mostly in the form of rocket attacks.

Joel says he knew at age 18 that he wanted to attend MassBay, but his military service put off that plan for eight years. “The staff seemed pleasant and helpful, and I had always heard good things about the College,” he explained.  Joel has worked with his fellow Veteran students and College staff to establish the Veterans resource center, and he also served as President of the MassBay Veterans club for two semesters.

 
“Thanks to the Veterans affairs support I received, I got the words ‘I can’t’ out of my head. And now that I’m here at MassBay it’s become a home away from home for me.”

UPDATE: Joel completed his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, graduating with MassBay’s Class of 2012.  He transferred to Framingham State University and is presently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology.