During 21 years of military service as a 19 Delta and 13 Bravo, I held many positions of leadership: facilitator, instructor and soldier. I did one tour in each: Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, Cuba (2004), Iraq (2007) and FOB Shank, Afghanistan (2012). I was medically discharged April 2014 after rehabilitating in the Fort Knox Warrior Transition Battalion. I had various medical and personal difficulties in adjusting after that.
But things changed. I had signed for a weekend workshop through my Army Wounded Warrior Advocate (AW2). Well, more than 'changed' it actually saved and changed my life. You see, I had a bus ticket to go from Grand Rapids to Ann Arbor to attend the workshop, but I missed my bus. A mentor from Warriors and Caregivers United (WACU) drove from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids and back to get me there. That was an incredible gesture and proved to me there are people out there who are really interested in helping PTS/mTBI combat warriors and their caregivers.
Since that initial workshop, I have changed my outlook on life and gotten very involved in developing this unique non-profit organization. What is different about WACU is the focus on the warrior’s caregiver and children, which the VA does very little. WACU has the potential to assist many combat warriors find a life of normalcy by letting them know there are folks out there who care about them and their welfare. We offer opportunities to get together with others, in a safe non-judgmental and unassuming environment and be ourselves with our Families.
I am very proud to be serving battle buddies who, like me, were there. For me, I just approached it with an open mind and trusted the journey pointed out by WACU mentors. I have gotten involved to help others and this is key for me.
Certified Veterans Treatment Court Mentor Justice 4 Vets
Board Member Friends Kent County Veterans Treatment Court.
Panel Participant Recon Resilience Conference May 30, 2019
Panel Participant Hidden Wounds of War Conference, Grand Rapids, MI
2019 Parade of Transformation Awardee March 28, 2019 Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals Lansing, MI See Video of Presentation click here
2018 Nominated Kent County Veteran of the Year, West Michigan Veterans Coalition