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When Brian Hidalgo reenlisted in the Navy Reserves in August of 2001, he had no way of knowing how much the world would change within the next month.
At the time, the UML engineering student had a very full plate-he was working third shift to support his family and attending classes during the day. Shortly after 9/11, and shortly before the end of the semester, Brian's unit was called up for deployment on an overseas mission. Unfortunately for Brian, this meant he had to withdraw from the classes he was enrolled in and that the work he had done for the semester would not be completed.
He was deployed to the island of Crete in Greece where he supervised 11 men and women. Their mission was to assist in the protection of NATO and U.S. ships that stopped in port for refueling or restocking.
Brian completed his assignment and came back to Massachusetts in November of 2002. Upon his return to UMass Lowell, he received strong support from his professors, including his advisor, Prof. James Sherwood, and Prof. Robert Parkin. Both helped him make the transition back a smooth one. In fact, Parkin helped him apply for and win a $4,000 scholarship that helped students affected by 9/11.
A native New Yorker, Brian speaks with great pride about his service to his country. He can see himself reenlisting again after he earns his degree and his children are older. This semester, he will be a full-time student and a full-time employee of Ferro Tec in Nashua. According the Brian, "The real motivation for me to finish my degree is to provide a better future for my family." Brian says he is looking forward to this semester and his anticipated graduation date of Spring 2007.