A Love Story that Began in Afghanistan

Amber and Kevin Fitzpatrick just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. Credits: Courtesy of the Fitzpatricks

This Valentine’s Day dinner should be slightly more romantic than the first meals Amber and Kevin Fitzpatrick shared, seven years ago.

Then they were in a mess tent in a war zone, talking about goals now being realized at Rutgers University.

Amber had left the Army in 2010, only to return to Afghanistan as a civilian contractor working as an intelligence analyst. There, she met Kevin, an Army Special Forces medic.

Sign Up for E-News

“It was a very small group,” Amber recalled from their Edison home. “We were sequestered on a small base and I got to know everyone on the team a little better over lunches. At that point I was thinking I wanted to go into medicine and he was thinking med school. Our first real conversations were about that.”

Of course there was an attraction but they decided to let romance wait until they were out of Afghanistan. Kevin was stationed in Germany, so when Amber left Afghanistan, en route to her job in Virginia, she stopped in Germany. They just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary.

Today, Kevin, who turns 36 on Valentine’s Day, is at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, where he’s slated to graduate in 2019. Amber, 35, in the physician assistant program at the Rutgers’ School of Health Professions, also in Piscataway, will graduate next year. 

This will be Kevin’s second degree from Rutgers University. Reared in Edison, he earned a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the School of Engineering in 2004, and then worked for Motorola on a communications system for the FDNY.

“It was not that long after 9/11, and working closely with those guys and getting inspired to do more is what led me to enlist in the Army,” he said.

Though both Kevin and Amber wound up in medicine, neither had always planned it. Amber, who grew up in Humble, Texas, earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Florida Institute of Technology. Growing up, she used to visit an aunt, who was a doctor.  Although intrigued, Amber was uncertain.

“When it came down to it I had a few years when I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do,” Amber said. “But my interest in medicine picked back up when I was in the Army. I was friends with quite a few PAs and medics.”

Kevin’s interest also piqued while serving.

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Photo: Courtesy of the Fitzpatricks

The Fitzpatricks met in Afghanistan where Kevin was an Army Special Forces medic and Amber was a civilian contractor working as an intelligence analyst. 

“I kind of knew I wanted to pursue it out of the military,” he said. “As a medic every couple of years you have to work in a hospital to get your certifications renewed. In Afghanistan I worked at the hospital in Bagram for four weeks. There most of my time was spent in the emergency room where you are getting injured troops straight from the battlefield.”

While some would recoil from the gore, Kevin was inspired by how fast and precise the doctors had to be.

“Seeing the quality focus the military physicians were providing – that sealed the deal for me for wanting to pursue a career in medicine,” he said.

Stationed in Germany, then in Colorado, the couple considered their next move. Separation was not an option. But why Rutgers?

“We kind of went through the list of where we could apply to and be together,” Kevin said. “We applied all over.” He made one school and she made another but Rutgers came through for both.

Currently, they’re both interested in working in emergency medicine, though they were careful to leave their options open.

“I start my clinical rotations this summer, and I know once I start that I will get a better idea,” Kevin said.

“I am also leaning toward emergency medicine, but am going into rotations with an open mind because you never know,” Amber said.

Their individual programs cover enough similar topics that they can help each other. As Kevin begins studying the renal system and Amber dives deeper into women’s health and pediatrics, they were looking forward to a little break. 

During the week of Valentine’s Day, they will be in the Poconos, snowboarding. They also plan to find a restaurant with a bit more romance than a mess tent pitched in the middle of a warzone. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Polystyrene Pollution

July 3, 2018

Dear Editor,

Last month the article,  A Girl Scout Workshop that Builds Young Environmental Specialists reminded readers that it's important to educate people on issues in our environment. Our waterways are under threat from harmful plastic pollution. Americans throw away an estimated 70 million plastic foam cups and about one-third end up in waterways like rivers, lakes ...

East Brunswick's Ethan Reiss Saves the History of Who We Are

July 15, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - To some people, lists of names and pictures of locations just create a jumble of information and a confusing mass of facts.  To Ethan Reiss, a historian from East Brunswick who is working to keep facts alive, these bits and pieces come together to form a picture of who we are based on who we were in the past.

Reiss, the administrator of the popular "You Know ...


Hillsborough, NJ - Gina (Francoisa) Salamon, 90, died Monday, July 9, 2018 at Bridgeway Care Center ...
Read more
Piscataway – Michael John Doherty, 73, passed away Saturday June 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, ...
Read more

New Outlook Pioneers hosts 18th Music in the Park at Milt Campbell Field

July 15, 2018

Plainfield, NJ - On Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 5PM Sponsored by: The City of Plainfield (including the Cultural & Heritage and Human Relations Commissions), Mayor Adrian Mapp and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; along with CO-SPONSORS: New Outlook Pioneers, Mr. Plainfield (Robert Graham),TD+Partners -A Community Impact Development Firm, and Re/Max Select, Sandra L.

Cruising with Autism on the Seas

This is a event that includes the partnership and collaboration of Cruise Planners, Autism Friendly Escapes and WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do!. WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do is a non-profit 5013c, organization that supports families that have autistic and special needs children through advocacy, social play dates, resources, workshops, community support, seminars and family ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale Next Week

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 17, 8:00 AM

Sivantos - Bloodmobile, Piscataway

Piscataway Emergency Blood Drive - Pair of ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Open House July 17th



Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Open House July 17th


Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Police Rescue Woman Locked in Burger King Restaurant

July 14, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Officers from the Nutley Police Department responded to a 911 call on Sunday at 5 a.m. from a woman who was locked in the Burger King restaurant off Franklin Ave.

The woman fell asleep in the ladies room sometime prior to closing and woke up only to find all of the employees gone and the doors locked. 

Nutley police responded and entered the building to allow her to leave.

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

July 15, 2018

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.