Meet Cole Bruscher.
Cole describes himself as a laid back guy who grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota. Mitchell is best known as the home of the World’s only Corn Palace. The palace represents innovation, enterprise, pride, and community. Cole grew up as your typical outdoorsy guy and enjoys hockey, football, and golf. Going back home to South Dakota you will find him flying down the highways with his country music playing.
During his last year of high school Cole decided to join the South Dakota Air National Guard 114th Fighter wing. His goal was simple: To give back to his community and the country. “The guards are very active in local community and also are called up regularly for local (and not so local) tragedies. (And obviously overseas as a part of the Air Force) Additionally, the guards provide you with an opportunity to avoid additional student loans with their school assistance programs,” commented Bruscher.
Cole is still active in the guard where he is a Technical Sergeant (E-6) and also serves as the Crew Chief on the F-16 jet. His role is to conduct maintenance and inspections on the aircraft before and after every flight.
After graduation in 2009 from high school he remained active in the guard and started attending South Dakota State University where he focused on Pre-optometry. In August 2015 Cole moved to St. Louis to continue his dream of being an optometrist. Cole began looking for a career that would be not only rewarding, but also one that creates the freedom and opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
The Air National Guard has played a huge role in his life. From leadership to time management he has grown over time to come to understand new things. It gives him opportunities that without the guard would not be possible. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the guard for Cole are the friendships he has forged throughout his involvement.
Now in his fourth year of optometry school Cole found a new hobby. He found himself needing a few pieces of furniture—but the price tags were a bit much for him, so he decided to buy some wood and make his own. Stopping by the local Lowes store he purchased a mitre saw, sander, and a drill and that’s when his story gets interesting.
His talent for making furniture flourished.
Cole began making whatever pieces of furniture he found interesting and now finds woodworking and furniture making as an outlet to reduce stress and to take a break away from his studies. It gives him an excuse to get outside for a few hours and for him to clear his mind and allow his creativity to expand.
Whether it be for his own place or for someone he knows—making furniture from scratch allows him to put himself into his work.
Cole has two proudest moments—the first when he graduated from basic training and the second when he got accepted into UMSL Optometry. He is a strong believer in helping your neighbors and respecting those who are older—he attributes these beliefs to his parents.
When he graduates in May 2018 he plans to return home to South Dakota to begin working hopefully in a private practice. His message to others who are interested in optometry is simple: “If it is something that you want to pursue do not be afraid of hardship or seemingly overwhelming obstacles because it may be a trying experience, but if you tuck your ears back and pursue it is a very obtainable goal.”