When a Greenwood man joined the U.S. Army Reserve six years ago, he saw it as a way to help pay for college.
Trevor Whipker, 24, earned a degree in nursing from IUPUC while spending two weeks during the summer and one weekend each month fulfilling his duties as a reserve soldier.
Now he is one of a few soldiers across the country telling his story to help recruit new soldiers.
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Whipker is being featured in a commercial airing nationwide this month on cable channels, including during the BET awards and the 2016 NBA draft on ESPN. And he is one of four soldiers chosen to have their story featured on the U.S. Army Reserve website.
Earlier this year, the Army asked for reserve soldiers for a commercial that would be aired nationwide.
Whipker had always wanted to explore acting. He had modeled swimwear in Indianapolis and had acted when he was a child growing up in Columbus. And he wanted a way to honor his late brother, Jack, who loved the spotlight but died in 2014. He knew his brother would love their last name on televisions across the country.
“That was the main reason I went, to bring honor to my brother,” he said. “I know my brother (loved) to have attention to his name, that is the best thing I could do for him.”
So he submitted his story of how the Army helped him get a nursing degree and how he uses his education to help ready other soldiers for battle.
Whipker works as an emergency room nurse at Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis and teaches basic life-saving skills to soldiers being deployed.
His mom worked the night shift as a nurse at Columbus Regional Hospital, which led Whipker to his career path.
“I thought in my head, I want to be where Mom is at,” he said.
Right after high school in Columbus, he decided he wanted to be a nurse and joined the U.S. Army Reserves to help make it happen. Now he can also use his medical training to help other soldiers prepare for deployment.
Whipker’s story was selected in the screening process. After two Skype interviews, he was hired and flew to Los Angeles in May.
The commercial was shot in Hollywood, and Whipker had a full makeup and wardrobe team to ready him for the camera. His wardrobe designer created the outfits that recording artist Rihanna wore on tour. High-ranking Army officers from Washington, D.C., were at the shoot, watching Whipker’s every move on camera.
“The camera is on you, you are the spotlight, and 50 people are watching your every move,” he said.
The result was a 30-second commercial, where Whipker and other soldiers are shown in their civilian and soldier life.
After he was done shooting, the producers, directors and high-ranking soldiers thanked Whipker for his service. He thanked them for giving him the chance to remember his brother, he said.
“It was nice, me and family had been through so much,” he said.
Name: Trevor Whipker
Family: Parents, Kathleen Haza and Henry Joe Whipker; late brother, Jack. Sister, McKenna.
Occupation: Emergency room nurse at Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis. Teaches deploying soldiers basic life-saving medical skills as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard.
Claim to fame: He is featured in a commercial for the U.S. Army Reserves that is being aired on cable channels in June.
Here is a list of channels where the commercial will air:
- ESPN 2