Randy Dexter joined the Army as a combat medic after 9/11, and was caught in an IED explosion during his 27 months in Iraq. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism for years, white knuckling on the edge of a cliff until he was saved by an unlikely best friend — his service dog, a laid-back white-and-brown lab mix named Captain.
So when it comes to the 2016 presidential election, Dexter is dialed into the issues that surround the future commander in chief. He’s seen first-hand how the position can directly affect people’s lives
He has toured the country speaking to veterans about his experiences with both PTSD and service dogs. It led him to seek out the speech and debate team at San Diego Miramar College before transferring to UNLV. Here, Dexter is involved with the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education team and Students for Progress.
As a junior communications and Spanish dual-major, Dexter was drawn to UNLV Presidential Debate.
“I had no idea the debate was here until the day I got here,” Dexter said. “My very first day on campus I went into Dr. (Jacob) Thompson's office to talk about the debate team. I immediately told him it would be a dream to be able to volunteer and work on (the debate) or help in any way.”
Thompson, director of the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum, helped get Dexter involved, and now the veteran will be serving on debate night as a runner for CNN. While television appeals to Dexter, he doesn’t know if his future is in TV or radio. Either way, he hopes his experience at the debate, getting a first-hand look at a national operation, will help take him to the next level — either in broadcast, or even in politics.
“Radio for me has been something that has always been therapeutic, listening to certain radio shows. I'd love to work for Sirius XM, doing a political talk show. Or maybe even run for office one day, even at the local level. I know I have the capacity to do certain things — especially now that I have (Captain) by me. Without him it's tough. You have to rely on medications. It's bad.
“Even if it doesn't (lead to professional opportunities), just the debate experience is something that nobody can ever take from me.”