WKU ROTC student honored for overcoming life challenges

Miranda Pederson/photo@bgdailynews.com Shawn Sattazahn, a Russellville sophomore at Western Kentucky University, was honored Friday as an honorary member by the Kentucky chapter of Warrior Pointe.

Living with quadri-plegic cerebral palsy, Shawn Sattazahn has overcome many challenges to get an education at Western Kentucky University and become an ROTC student. 

Despite those challenges, Sattazahn continues to reach new heights. He was honored Friday as an honorary member by the Kentucky chapter of Warrior Pointe. The nonprofit organization has chapters in all 50 states, according to its website, and promotes fellowship among veterans to prevent issues caused by isolation. 

Sattazahn, a Russellville sophomore, said he was shocked when he was first told he’d be recognized. 

“I’m very pleased and very honored,” he said. 

Sattazahn said he was awarded because of the challenges he’s overcome, “which have been many over my 35 years of life,” he said. 

A major challenge was pursuing an education despite disruptive surgeries on his back and legs. He currently uses a wheelchair, but that hasn’t held him back. 

Sattazahn parachuted from an aircraft in November at 14,000 feet. The next day, he was awarded silver parachutist wings by Lt. Col. Thomas MacMillin, a WKU military science professor. WKU’s Department of Military Science worked with the 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment to induct Sattazahn as an honorary member of the U.S. Army’s airborne community. 

Theresa Sattazahn, who is Shawn’s mother, teared up with pride for her son’s accomplishments. 

“Remarkable. He’s been remarkable,” she said. “It has been challenging, but at the same time very rewarding.” 

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Crystal Falefata is also inspired by Sattazahn’s achievements, especially his experience skydiving. 

“He’s done something I’ve never done,” she said. 

Falefata said she’s learned form Sattazahn’s determination. 

“Nothing can stop you from doing what you want to do,” she said. 

— Follow reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @aaron_muddbgdn or visit bgdailynews.com.

Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.