Why this? Why now?
While overseas I participated in more than 100 combat missions. My roles ranged from mounted patrols as a Humvee gunner, to serving on the personal security team for Col. John Norris, then battalion commander of the 4th Brigade 23rd Infantry Regiment.
I survived improvised explosive attacks, mortar strikes, and small arms contacts. When I returned I advised by
It was the end, not only of my anticipated career as a police officer, but of my nearly my life.
They were all great warriors. All of them could have, and should have, lived long and fulfilling lives. There are more casualties that I simply don’t know about due to the fog of time.
After having to give up policing I nearly joined my fallen comrades. Had I been able to receive the care I needed when I first began to deal with unseen wounds of war that plagued me. Sadly, the Veterans Administration is unable to cope with the demands of those in need and I was no different. The system simply can’t keep up. I was nearly killed by mishaps in the VA's handling of my medications. I swore off the VA and went on without any assistance.
Had there been a Soldiers Project in Fairbanks I might have been able to get the help I needed in time to succeed in my chosen police career.
On Aug. 17, I completed my 988-mile test ride from Fairbanks up Alaska's "haul road" to Deadhorse and back.
Expedition Recovery commenced, early Wed., Sept. 7, as I left Fairbanks for points south.
Before I chose to work with The Soldiers Project, I took the time to investigate their financials as I didn't want to benefit any of the charities that only seem to benefit their board of directors. I was glad to find that nearly all of the funds raised go directly to supporting the care of veterans and their families.
But who am I?
For the last three years I have also been a full-time student at University of Alaska Fairbanks in the Construction Management and Journalism departments.
I'm exploring mobile journalism, as I go, filing written, photographic, and video reports about the journey. I'm an avid motorcyclist and have found some of my greatest times of growth and healing inside my helmet.
Roller derby took me in at my lowest and gave me a family around the world. Through required commitments to others, I was able to find enough purpose to keep from taking my own life. The association continues to inspire me to grow and heal. Part of my journey entails playing, officiating, and teaching the related skills to others. This expedition will allow me time alone to reflect on what has been, and time with my community to grow and push on into my future.
I made it, but many don't. I hope we can expand the efforts of this great organization to include many more than the seven locations it currently serves, and your donation can help in the spreading of that mission. Even more, encourage mental health providers in your area to contact The Soldiers Project about getting involved. That will help to make the lives of post 9/11 service members, veterans, and their families that much better. With no limit on care and no reporting to the military chain of command for those served, the organization has flexibility to assist those currently in uniform, along with those who previously served, to get help needed to continue their missions in life.