The second weekend of May in the year 2019 is one Abraham Cooper may never forget.
Saturday morning, Cooper walked the stage at the Brownwood Coliseum to officially become a graduate of Howard Payne University. Just over 24 hours prior, however, Cooper set in stone his future path as he was commissioned as a second lieutenant for the United States Air Force.
Dr. Dan Locker — a retired Air Force general — issued the oath of enlistment to Cooper beneath the United States flag at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial, as Cooper's family observed the proceedings.
“I haven't really put too much thought into it but the closer I come to this hour, I realize how big of a commitment I'm making,” Cooper said prior to taking his oath. “When I make this commitment I know 100 percent that I'm ready to go into the Air Force.”
Before heading to the Air Force, however, Cooper will be attending medical school in Kirksville, Missouri at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“Going into the military is something I've known I wanted for as long as I can remember, since I was a kid,” said Cooper, whose family history serving in the military dates to his grandfather and great-grandfather. “I wasn't sure where in life I would have that opportunity, but this worked out perfectly. I'll do medical school for four years and then I'll have my residency, and then I'll start active duty and service. I'm able to go to medical school and become an Air Force physician.”
Cooper credited his decision to pursue a career in medicine to his interest in science and math courses both at Howard Payne and Early High School.
“Science and math, and also music, they've been classes that I've always enjoyed,” Cooper said. “I tried different things and I was taking dual credit classes. By the time I was a senior in high school I was taking organic chemistry to find out if medicine is something I really want to go into. That's one of the courses people take that are going into the medical field.”
Cooper intends to devote his entire career to military service.
“We have all these men and women that serve in our armed forces, and being a physician in the military is just one way I can serve them and help them be at their best at all times,” Cooper said.
Cooper, a 2015 graduate of Early High School where he was class valedictorian, is the son of Charles and Adelie Cooper, and has a brother, Vic, who attends Early High School.