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U.S. Army Veteran
Boulder Crest Warrior PATHH

I feel like my life has been some type of fate if you believe in that. I have a picture from when I was about 4 years old, standing in fatigues in front of the 101st airborne flag, and after joining the Army in 2004, I was stationed with the 101st airborne. I wanted to belong somewhere because so much of my childhood felt like everybody in my family was looking out for themselves, and I felt a sense of abandonment.

My 1st deployment was to Iraq at the end of 2005. I was there for 5 months with a mission to clear out IEDs. On April 7th, everything changed. I took one shot, and I was down. I spent months rehabbing and was deployed one more time, and when we came back, I was voluntold to be on recruiting duty. I felt alone in a civilian population. This is when the darkness hit, and everything caught up to me.

I isolated, pushed relationships away, self-medicated, and tried to forget things, but you never forget. I was in pain, every day. I  thought about taking my life a few times, but my grandfather did it in the 90s, so I struggled through it. I was a mean, bitter, man.

Then, my now wife got pregnant, we got married, and I found a passion for scuba diving. That led me to the dive team at the Georgia Aquarium, where I stayed for the next 3.5 years, involved with the veterans' program. I would say I was better, but I was still going home and isolating and drinking. Then, I became part of the outreach team at the Shepherd Center, which led me to meet the CEO of the Boulder Crest Foundation. My whole life trajectory changed. I went to the Warrior PATHH program thinking I was learning how to run the program. By Day 2, I realized I needed to learn to lead myself – I wasn’t ok, and I didn’t have my stuff together. I was cold and isolated because of my childhood.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. I am a work in progress. I’ve repaired with my family and am repairing with myself. I don’t guarantee many things in life, but I can guarantee that Warrior PATHH will change you. The pain is there to strengthen and reinforce that we can live a phenomenal life. Every interaction in my life has been there for a reason … fate, if you will.

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