Purple Heart veteran to receive MSU Denver’s highest student honor
After overcoming personal and professional battles, Sport Management student adds President’s Award to accolades.
When his vehicle ran over a land mine in Afghanistan in 2007, Jamie Farmer hit the windshield and was knocked unconscious.
But Farmer, who will receive the 2022 President’s Award for an exceptional Metropolitan State University of Denver student, has a history of not just surviving trauma but rising above it.
After the land-mine incident, he had a severe concussion and dislocated shoulder.
“Then three years later, I found out that I had broken my back and had to get surgery,” Farmer said. “But I’m all good now.”
During his four deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Spartan Shield, he took part in clearing over 150,000 miles of Middle Eastern terrain, finding and destroying over 40,000 pounds of unexploded munitions to prevent them from being used on military forces. In recognition of the sacrifices he made in the line of duty, the U.S. Army gave Farmer multiple honors, including the Purple Heart.
Farmer also took home the Humanitarian Service Medal for services rendered during Hurricane Harvey in Houston in 2017. There, he helped the Army Corps of Engineers with an accumulation of 5 billion gallons of water that was approximately 11 feet deep and covered cars, trailers, farmland and a zoo.
“I helped clean and clear buildings, property and land of the hurricane’s waste,” he said.
Farmer, who’ll graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management in December, said that when he was notified that he had won the President’s Award, he had to read the email twice.
“I thought it was an update for the award, not telling me I won,” he said. “I was very surprised. I didn’t think I had a shot at being selected, to be honest.”
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Farmer said academics wasn’t always his strength.
“In high school, I considered myself lazy and applied little effort to my education, which earned me a C average at graduation,” he said. “My mom would always tell me I’m capable of so much more. Before she passed, I promised her that I would do the best I could and better apply myself at everything I do.”
His best appears to be working. Since enrolling at MSU Denver, he has completed 72 credit hours with a GPA of 3.90.
“That’s an accomplishment that I’m extremely proud of and never thought I would be able to achieve,” he said. “I think my mom would say, ‘I always knew you could do it. You just had to stop being lazy and put some effort into it.’”
Looking back on all he has done and faced in his life, the chief lesson he has learned is this: “You have to laugh to keep from crying. What I mean by that is you have to somehow find the humor during the hard times and even more humor during the good times.”