ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)- A former Roscoe Collegiate ISD student earned his Ph.D. in physical therapy back in May. With a lack of rural health care options in Nolan County, Jose Rangel Ph.D. is providing a key service to his community.
A first-generation college student, Rangel was raised by two hardworking parents; his dad built his life as a cotton farmer. His mom works as a custodian in the Roscoe Collegiate School District.
“There’s five of us–me, my two brothers, and my mom and dad,” said Rangel. “We’re a pretty traditional small family,” said My dad is a blue collar-worker, a cotton farmer. My mom is actually a custodian at Roscoe High School now.
“It was a pretty supportive family, [I] definitely got to learn what hard work was going out to work in the fields with my dad at a younger age,” said Rangel.
His mother Patricia said Rangel has always shown a nurturing spirit. She recounted the numerous times he spent caring for animals when he first dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.
“He loved animals,” said Patricia. “He liked to take care of them. He likes helping them, trying to get them better. When he found a dove one day stuck in front of my car, he got that dove and he put in a cage and get better and fly.”
Eventually, Rangel turned his attention to health care. He challenged himself to continue learning past a bachelor’s degree. He said through the support of his loving wife Leila and his family, he continued his education.
“More jobs are opening up each year than students are graduating with their DPT, so a very open job market in that,” said Rangel.
Chancellor of Roscoe ISD Dr. Kim Alexander said Rangel is the prime example of the Roscoe Collegiate P-20 model is designed to accomplish.
“He has set the bar high as a twenty-completer, our first one out of this model,” said Dr. Alexander.
Beginning as early as pre-school, the program leads students to obtain an associate’s degree by the time of high school graduation, they then move onto undergrad and hopefully as far as obtaining a master’s and eventually a Ph.D.
“We’re seeing students that have historically been underserved beyond grade 12 that now have goals and aspirations of a graduate degree with no student debt,” said Alexander.
Through the program, Rangel interned for fellow Roscoe Plowboy Nick Anthony, Ph.D. who also returned to Nolan County to run a satellite clinic for student-athletes at Roscoe Collegiate.
“Being able to come back and render a service to the community and the surrounding area that people can benefit from and appreciate is rewarding on my end and same for Jose,” said Anthony.
Like the rest of the rural United States, the older generation rooted in the community of Roscoe worries that the future of its hometown hangs in the balance that same generation is looking to keep its health care options within reach. These circumstances make Jose’s presence as a physical therapist at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital quite valuable.
“They are the hospital, kind of the hub for this area,” said Anthony.
And, for students like Jose returning to Nolan County to build a life as a physical therapist was a no-brainer.
“Going to Angelo State, going to a little bit bigger [school] helped me to know what was out there but didn’t really change my values of wanting to be close to family,” said Rangel .”Getting to see everybody every day, every other day however often I get to see them versus being across the country and maybe once a year.”
This perk, his mother believes, is thanks to Roscoe and her son’s hard work.
“I’m very proud of everything that was given to my son here, ” said Patricia. “I’m very proud of Roscoe. I admire him because he set his mind to it, and he told me he was going to and he did.”