By Staff Writer Alec Davies
Many students know Scott Hagen as Mr. Hagen, physics teacher, Greg Burkhart’s student teacher in room 391. We may spend time in his class or pass by him in the hallway and think he’s just another teacher here at Timberline. But what we may not know about Mr. Hagen is that when he was sixteen he was told by doctors he would never walk again. Many students also may not know that Scott Hagen earned a purple heart for his service in the United States Marine corps, let alone even know that he served in the Marines.
Hagen grew up very much interested in athletics as a kid. Attending Inglemoor High School in north Seattle, he competed in a wide variety of sports. “Anything with a ball,” said Hagen. “Basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis.” In his junior year of high school, Hagen was attending class like any other normal day when he suffered a spinal cord hemorrhage. A hemorrhage is a burst blood vessel which causes blood to leak inside the body. In Hagen’s case, a blood vessel burst inside his spine which eventually led pressure to build up in the spine.
After being taken to the hospital, Hagen had lost feeling in all of his arms and legs. Being a kid who loved sports, Hagen was told by doctors he would never walk again. “I guess it doesn’t really sink in at that age,” said Hagen. “it would take a long time to sink in.” But miraculously after two weeks, Hagen noticed a twitch in his toe. And slowly he began to regain feeling throughout his body. A little over a month after the injury occurred, Hagen, although it was difficult, was able to walk out of the hospital. After his traumatic experience Hagen decided he wanted to help people, which would influence his decision to become a teacher and serve in the armed forces. “I wanted to look back and say I made a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
Fighting with his heart and earning another one
In 2002, following the path of his dad, Hagen joined the United States Marine Corps and served three tours in the Middle East. He was part of the initial invading force from Kuwait to Iraq. Near the city of Baghdad in central Iraq, Hagen was riding in a convoy of vehicles traveling on a road bypassing the city. The convoy was crossing a bridge when a roadside bomb blew up next to the vehicles. “There was a high probability we were going to get bombed,” said Hagen. “we had no armor on our truck.” While there were many injuries, including Hagen being hit with a chunk of the road in the head, amazingly there were no fatalities. Hagen was one of nine people later to receive purple hearts given to the group injured by the blast.
After returning home from Iraq, Hagen met and eventually married his wife now of 8 years. But also he was met with tragedy as his best friend died in a car accident in California. The same friend was the one who had introduced him to his wife.
Now Mr. Hagen is working on his masters in teaching at St. Martins University and has decided he wants to become a full time science teacher.
“They [the students] gave him the nickname Mr. Wigan’s,” said Burkhart. “Because they like him so much.”