Tallahassee Soldier's Path to a Degree

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A Tallahassee soldier wounded in Iraq three years ago is among the first to take advantage of a tuition waiver for Florida's wounded vets, signed by Gov. Bush in June.

Twenty-three-year-old Trueman Muhrer-Irwin recalls a day he'll never forget, November 12, 2003, when a roadside bomb went off near his unit.

Irwin said, "It was so shocking, sudden and surreal that it was hard to really be scared or panicked."

A piece of shrapnel ripped through his left foot. His friend and fellow soldier, Robert Wise of Tallahassee, was killed in the explosion.

Trueman said, "That got me and that's been very difficult. That's something that really stuck with me."

After one year of physical therapy and recuperation, Irwin returned to Tallahassee only to find out his tuition waiver at Tallahassee Community College no longer applied because he was discharged from the National Guard.

He said, "I immediately went home and wrote to my senators, my representatives and all the local legislators and I missed, it was three days before the end of that session."

The bill finally passed this May and Irwin was there as Gov. Bush signed the tuition waiver bill in June. He's one of the first wounded soldiers in Florida to take advantage of the waiver.

He's finishing up his degree at TCC and hopes to go on sharing his stories as an aspiring writer. He plans to study writing or journalism at Florida State or FAMU in the spring. His story will air next month on a network morning newscast.

The tuition waiver at all state schools applies to any Florida resident who receives a Purple Heart.