74-year-old decorated Vietnam veteran, David Nelson has started his journey in welding school.
“It’s a skill that not many people want to do or can master,“ says Nelson.
David Nelson served 23 years in the army, even receiving a Purple Heart. He says the biggest battle was seeing his wife fight for her life.
“My wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and she had stage-three colon cancer. For me, it's kind of like a double whammy. My first wife died of cancer, so for me to find out she had cancer it was really breathtaking,” says Nelson.
Nelson says he wants to use welding to pay back the thousands of dollars of medical bills now that his wife is considered cancer-free.
“We filed bankruptcy two years ago and we had a little bit of savings but the cancer treatment just ate it up, so what we are trying to do is replenish what was depleted so we can living a normal life,” says Nelson. “Eat out every now and then, have date night every Friday, go to the movies, buy fingernail polish so I can paint her toenails.”
Nelson is now the oldest student at Tulsa Welding School after the school gave him a $14,000 full-ride scholarship.
"It's good to know that we can make a difference, I know we make a difference for our students every single day,” says Jorge Hinojasa, Campus President. “In this specific case, it’s really inspiring to know that he is going to be able to make a difference with his wife.”
Nelson is just shocked someone would do this for him.
“I am just tickled pink because I never dreamed something like that would happen. Tulsa Welding has literally just embraced me, hugged me, and kissed me and given me a free scholarship, so my wife and I just had a praise party," says Nelson.
Nelson tells News On 6 he plans to graduate top of his class.