No regrets part 5: Not giving up

Maj. (Dr.) Jeffrey Woolford, Air Force Institute of Technology student, poses in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II before his fini-flight Jan. 17, 2013.  A fini-flight is a military tradition celebrating a pilot’s final operational flight in an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

Maj. (Dr.) Jeffrey Woolford, Air Force Institute of Technology student, poses in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II before his fini-flight Jan. 17, 2013. A fini-flight is a military tradition celebrating a pilot’s final operational flight in an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Editor's note: This part five of a six part series about the obstacles U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey and his wife Nicole faced, and how the Air Force helped him persevere to his highest potential.

It took four months to bury everyone and for everyone to begin healing. That's when one of his medical professors asked him a question.

"Are you ready to come back and finish?" asked Dr. McManagle of the Uniformed Services Univeristy of the Health Sciences as he pulled Woolford's resignation paperwork out of his drawer and said, "Never moved past my desk."

It was his conviction, along with a few other supportive instructors, that made Woolford feel a need to honor their faith in him.

"They had more faith in me than I did at that time," Woolford said. "It was one of those rare occasions were you're laying back with your back against the world, just waiting to be eviscerated, and somebody came along and protected me. It was that moment that made me realize, 'wow, there are good people out there, and I owe this... I owe this legacy of medicine to those people."

"They encouraged him to stay on and they would give him whatever time necessary," Nicole said. "They gave him five months off medical school, and we just spent that time together. We did whatever each other needed to do to just stay on-track,"

Woolford went back to school and graduated off-cycle. While not in his original plans with medical school, graduating off-cycle presented him with another highly sought-after opportunity. He applied for and was accepted to a transitional internship. The internship is unique in that it doesn't just focus on one area such as surgery, but it encompasses numerous medical fields; this was important to her husband's job, as he must be able to diagnose and treat his flying comrades through numerous ailments and injuries.

"That's the thing; there is always a plan, even if you don't see it all in front of you," said Nicole. "Things always work out."