Tell Julian: PFW honors outstanding Top 50 Student and Exemplar Jason Bonar

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:20 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Introducing PFW Top 50 student and Exemplar Jason Bonar.

At 52-years-old, this navy veteran will graduate with his Bachelor of Science degree in organizational leadership.

“It’s rewarding because of the hard work you put in and then to be picked for that,” said Bonar.

As a disabled veteran, Jason was able to continue his education through the vocational rehab program, known as Chapter 31.

“So I come in and apply for that, get into the program. And start this college career that I started back in 1991, that I never got to finish because of Desert Storm,” said Bonar.

Jason has always been passionate about giving back to his fellow veterans.

He works as the program coordinator in Military Student Services and he’s organized some huge events for veterans on campus, including Military Appreciation Day.

“It has grown exponentially from 250 to now over 900 that show up community wide.”

Jason has also contributed to Green Zone Training at Purdue Fort Wayne, a program designed to help faculty and staff better communicate with veterans in the classroom.

“What we started to do is try to bridge the gap so these students, non-traditional, they’re veterans, would feel welcome. They don’t feel like they belong.”

Fitting in as a non-traditional student is not the only challenge Jason has had to overcome. In 2017, he was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma.

“I’ve been on chemo since 2017 and I may never come off of it.”

Despite his on-going battle with cancer, Jason never forgets the lesson he learned as a kid.

“As a small child I remember my father anytime I said I can’t, he said can’t never did nothing. Always stayed with me.”

And if there is anything you should know about Jason, it’s this.

“I do not let cancer define me, that’s for sure.”

Jason and the other PFW Top 50 students were nominated and selected for this honor by staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni.

Morning anchor Julian Teekaram is thrilled to be hosting the PFW Top 50 and Exemplar Awards ceremony once again this year.

Congratulations to Jason and the rest of these deserving students.

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