Dedicated to Helping Others: Bree Bohle On Her father and Her Future

Breanna (Bree) Bohle graduates this month with a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College – her majors: Behavioral Neuroscience and Philosophy. She has been a stellar student academically and has big plans to do some research after graduation before pursuing her Ph.D. Breanna is the daughter of SFC Bradley Bohle, who was KIA on 6/16/2009 while serving with 7th SFG.

Q: How old were you when your father lost his life and do you have any memories of your father that you would like to share?

I was nine years old when my dad lost his life. Although I do not have a multitude of memories of him, I do have a couple that I hold dear to my heart. My dad was the one who taught me how to ice skate (albeit I still do not know how to do it very well) and I remember I was falling so much on the ice that he got one of the ‘ice walkers’ to try and keep me up. I felt so silly using one when no one else on the ice was. Somehow, though, my dad made it fun to be the only person using that ‘ice walker’ and it turned my embarrassment into laughter. He was always good at making me laugh, no matter the situation.

There was this one time that I couldn’t sleep, so I snuck out of my room and into the family room so I could watch some late-night cartoons. My dad being the very light sleeper that he was, immediately woke up to the sound of Tom and Jerry blasting from down the hall and came to find the source of the noise. Thinking I was going to get in trouble I put my blanket over my head (in the hopes that that would hide me, of course) and tried to be as still as possible. Naturally he knew I was there and instead of being mad at me for doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, he watched a couple minutes of cartoons with me, laughing along with me to the antics of my favorite show, then walked me back to my room, and read me a short story so I could fall asleep. My dad was a man who knew what it was like to be a kid and was never afraid to act childish along with me so that I was always entertained, and I will always remember that about him.

Q. Could you share with us what you consider to be your father’s legacy?

My father dedicated his life to helping others, no matter the cost to his own safety or sanity. If there was a neighbor who needed help moving, or a child in need of a pick-me-up, my dad was the first to volunteer. My dad was the first to volunteer for anything. If his name was called, he came running with no questions asked. He was always willing to help others even if that meant putting off what he needed to do for himself. My father’s legacy helped me realize that while there are some bad people in this world, there are always good people out there as well — you just have to find them. My dad was one of these good people, someone who put everyone else ahead of himself — from his kids and family, to neighbors and even people he did not even know. My dad’s benevolence and selflessness are something that will always live on in his children, his wife, his family, and even the people who may not have known him personally but still experienced the kindness of his heart.

Q: What has been the most challenging thing about the loss of your father?

I think the most challenging thing about the loss of my dad has been that I have had to just imagine how proud he would have been of me, and how excited he would have been to share all my life milestones with me, instead of being able to experience it firsthand. Each time I hit a new milestone in my life, whether it was getting my driver’s license or graduating from high school, or even now as I am preparing to graduate from college, I am only able to imagine how proud he might be of me, how excited he might be to share in these experiences with me. When I experienced my first heartbreak, and when I was unfortunate enough to find out what it was to lose a significant other, I was unable to turn to him to receive the fatherly advice that might have been able to slowly mend my heart back together. I think it’s times like those — whether the extremely happy or extremely sad times in my life — that I have to experience his loss all over again.

Q: What has been the most important thing that SOWF has contributed to your life?

By far the most important thing that SOWF has contributed to my life has been helping with my college tuition. I know that without the financial assistance of this organization I would never have been able to attend the college that I am currently at, the place where I found friends that feel like family, found professors that care about their students’ well-being more than they care about their academic prowess, and found the career path that I want to follow for the rest of my life. SOWF has more than helped me in my college career, and I could not be more thankful for the people I have met in this organization who have helped me in any way they can, in order to help me achieve the goals that I have set for myself. Even before I entered college, SOWF helped get me through the remainder of my time in high school, helped me look at and apply to colleges, without ever once having to worry about the financial aspect of these endeavors. Not only has this organization been helpful to me in a financial way, but the members of SOWF have always been kind and warm and have always been willing to offer assistance in any aspect of my life, including making sure I am doing well mentally and emotionally, not just academically and financially.

Q: If you have any accomplishments or achievements in your life that you would be willing to share with us, we would love to hear them.

While my mom would probably disagree, I think my achievements so far pale in comparison to what I want them to be later in my life. I am proud of all the things I have accomplished thus far, but I know that going into a career working with people who suffer from addiction I will be able to accomplish more meaningful achievements, at least in terms of something that I can offer the world rather than just myself. An achievement I am most proud of is that during my junior year of college I was able to overcome the obstacle of unexpectedly losing my significant other and made the Dean’s List for the first time in my college career. I was also able to finish all my required coursework for both of my majors my first semester senior year and I have spent my remaining semester here at college taking classes that I think will further prepare me for the real world once I graduate. I could have graduated a semester early, something that is hard to do with two majors, especially one of them being behavioral neuroscience, but I chose to stay on campus in order to further my education even more and make my family proud since I am a first-generation college student.

Q: Tell us about your plans for the future, and what you’d like to do with your career.

Ultimately, I would love to be able to be part of a discovery of a novel compound that aids in the treatment and recovery of addiction. While there may be no cure to addiction there is always a way to help. I worked in a lab at my school studying and experimenting with a novel compound to aid in the treatment of substance abuse and it was very impactful in helping me decide where I wanted to go next in terms of a career. Once I graduate, I am planning to continue as a research assistant, aiding in the recovery and treatment of people who suffer from substance abuse, as well as researching different treatments. After doing research for a couple years, I plan on going back to school to get my PhD in behavioral neuroscience so that I may fully be able to accomplish my goals of helping to discover something that can truly aid people in their recovery from addiction.

Q: If there is one thing you could dream of doing in the future, what would that be? (The sky is the limit, go ahead and share your big, audacious dream here if you have one.)

When I was in high school, I took an economics class, and we watched a documentary about a family who was in the process of losing their house to foreclosure. They talked about how this farm and house had been in their family for generations and how they had to pack up their entire lives and leave, and they were only given a week to do so. I couldn’t help but imagine how they must have felt in that situation. I thought about how there were so many people in the world with more money than they knew what to do with and how they could have easily bought the house back for this family so they wouldn’t have to give up their entire lives and everything they had known. Since watching that documentary I knew that if I was lucky enough to make enough money, one day I would be the type of person that I wished that family had had. If I am able to make enough money where I have an excess, I would love to purchase as many houses in foreclosure as possible and give them back to their rightful owners. Life happens, situations change easily, and no one deserves to have their house and their life taken away from them.