Military Board Member
I joined the Army straight out of high school in Reading, Pennsylvania. My enlistment included Basic Training, Airborne School, and finally the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) in 2007. I deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice with the 1st Ranger Battalion as a light infantryman. I experienced the hardships of the changing military culture and politics of the administration and command staff.On June 17, 2011, life took a serious turn for me when I wrecked my motorcycle and wasn't wearing a helmet.
Like Lazarus, I was raised from the dead, but not without a major TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as one would expect from such a catastrophe. Dark days followed as I had to learn the simplest and most basic human skills all over again.
I felt alone, isolated, and depressed. I felt cast aside, forgotten, and as if I had no purpose. I underwent brain surgery (“Dain Bramaged” as I call it) that removed a golf ball size of my damaged brain. I felt complete hopelessness about my quality of life going forward.
I experienced all of the common symptoms, and still experience several of the symptoms of brain damage, but I have made incredible strides in improvement, especially in behavior and social aspects. A TBI is an invisible and life-long injury. Although mine was severe enough to require brain surgery; many, many Veterans have smaller TBI’s, which are still invisible and most often ignored. Results include mental retardation in ways of understanding and processing even the most basic of thoughts.
I medically retired from the US Army on June 28, 2014. Lacking the proper support in order to further recover from the afore-mentioned situation, I decided to move to Fort Collins, CO to live with a Ranger Buddy in October 2015.
It was after this trip and learning more about ReGroup from Antonio Ruiz that I decided to put my energy, and strength from everything he had endured to this point, towards what I saw as a masterpiece in the making: the ReGroup Foundation; a place to help Veterans reintegrate into ‘real life’.
I now own a home in the Rocky Mountains where I enjoy the retreat of the peace and solitude Colorado life has to offer. I have found healing, time for personal reflection, space to pursue life’s greatest adventures, among my local community, the backcountry, and by being a volunteer firefighter in my local area.